Blogging about Europe

Archive for the tag “europe”

Investing in property in Europe were slow at the beginning of the year

Investments in real estate in Europe have slowed significantly in the first quarter of 2012. The volume of deals for the period was 17.7 billion against 20 billion in the first three months of the last year and 26 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011. Overall, however, recent quarters have high activity of investors as buyers and sellers seek to reach agreement before the end of the year.

According to CBRE data the volume of transactions in Europe dropped by 18% in the first quarter compared to the same period last year and 31% from the fourth quarter of 2011. The trend is only the Scandinavian region, where volumes increased by 50% compared with the first three months of last year.

Markets in the region are favorable for a stable financial situation and better prospects for economic growth, experts explain the company.

Sweden continues to be a key objective for many investors, and increasing interest of foreign investors in other Scandinavian countries.

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Putin offered Energy Union to Europe

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin proposes to EU to create a single energy complex – Russia and cancel the Third Energy Package.

“We need to think about deeper cooperation in the energy field – or even create a single European energy complex” says the Prime Minister in an article in which the topic of cooperation with Europe is seen only after a detailed description of the development prospects of relations between Russia and the Asia – Pacific region.

The first steps in the proposed area were made ​​in the gas sector, said the head of the Russian government. “Nord Stream under the Baltic Sea and South Stream across the Black Sea are supported by the governments of many countries, they contribute at the major European energy companies. After full commissioning Europe will receive reliable and flexible system for gas, not depend on anyone’s political whims. This will not formally, but actually strengthen the energy security of the continent” said Putin.

Putin calls to repeal the third energy package, whose requirements prohibit providers of energy inputs to control the transport infrastructure, stating that it complicates relations between Russia and the EU in the energy sphere.

Now there is a choice: naked scanner or search

Passengers at European airports will be checked using “naked” scanners once the European Commission approved today rules under which it works. Naked scanners allow you to see non-metallic objects. Their introduction began after the discovery of explosives in the heel of the shoe on one flank and another passenger turned to the United States.

Naked scanners are advanced metal detector technology used today, but since working with X-rays and show three-dimensional parts of the body under examination, were previously blocked in the European Union as hazardous to health and violating the privacy of passengers.

After almost two years of negotiations with the European Parliament, which refused the introduction of new scanners, the Commission now agree to the terms of use, allowing even from the middle of December to be mounted on any European airport.

Image quality, which is like a medical devices allows to clearly see details of the audited body, including anatomical details.

To ensure privacy and dignity of passengers, the main requirement is that the people who will watch the images to be in a separate room from the border inspection post. Furthermore, the image records will be kept only until the passenger is at the scanner, says the guidelines will be published in “Official Journal” of the EU next week.

So far, the intention of full passenger’s anonymity is hardly feasible, since only one producer of scanners own such technology. Because of this the European Commission recommended that the authorities in the Member States to show the faces of the passengers blurred.

People who have health, religious and other reasons and are not willing to undergo three-dimensional scanner, may request another inspection. The European Commission announced that it will be a personal search by a member of airport staff. Because of the health risks of ionizing radiation on people with pacemakers, prostheses, insulin and diabetic pregnant women, the examination will be done by touching.

According to a report of the police in Hamburg, however, the new machines make too many mistakes. The images are blurry and at the slightest movement and the scanner gets confused by zippers, metal buttons and spikes.

As part of its campaign against the negative image of the new airport scanner, Brussels, even changes his name and instead of “naked” in the future it will be called “security scanner”. Such machines are currently used in London and the airport in Amsterdam, but they have been tested in Germany, France, Finland and Belgium.

Their supporters claim that besides that they are safer, they will significantly reduce queues at airports. Passengers will continue to remove shoes and belts, to take out coins and to be returned several times. The safety of the flight, will significantly improve, they say.

Merkel: Our generation must create a political union in Europe

Step by step, Europe needs to move towards political union, said German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She define the debt crisis in the euro area as “the most serious challenge for the region after World War II.”

With its one-hour speach infront thousands of delegates of the Christian Democratic Union, Merkel did not offer new ideas to solve the crisis, which forced Greece, Ireland and Portugal to seek international financial assistance and pose existential concern for monetary union as a whole.

Merkel, however, clearly pointed out that Germany will have to make additional sacrifices. Party congress in Leipzig runs under the motto “For Europe – for Germany.”

“The challenge of our generation is to finish what we started in Europe, and namely the step by step to create a political union,” she said infront of the party congress in Leipzig. “Europe is experiencing one of its worst crises, perhaps the worst since the Second World War,” she said.

The focus on the two-day party meeting had to be the German education system. Instead, the talks were dominated by issues of European debt crisis, which continued to grow even after the election of a new expert governments in Greece and Italy.

If Germany does not have early parliamentary elections, the mandate of Merkel, who came to power in 2005, will expire in 2013. The German Chancellor seems aware that she can easily become another victim of a political crisis if she fails to play her cards cleverly enough.

In 1999, exactly the Christian Democratic Union, led by then-Chancellor Helmut Kohl united Germany to the Pact for the euro.
Almost 13 years later, many German conservatives are worried about the funded with taxpayers’ money aid for troubled eurozone countries. Conservatives are extremely sensitive to the fiscal irresponsibility of the countries of the periphery of the euro area and the danger to the crisis to compromise the independence of the European Central Bank (ECB).

Some fractions of the party of Merkel even agree that the whole project with the European single currency was a mistake that must now be corrected.

Merkel, however, highlighted that Germany has a responsibility to their partners and that it is vulnerable if other eurozone countries are overtaken by the crisis. Chancellor reminded her colleagues that 60% of German exports go to the European Union (EU).

“Irish problems are Slovakian problems, Greek problems are Dutch problems, the Spanish problems are our problems,” said Merkel. “Our responsibility does not end at the German border,” she said.

Meanwhile, Merkel emphasizes that there are “red lines” that Germany is not ready to cross, rejecting once again the idea of ​​issuing common Eurobonds and other hasty decisions that in Berlin would not encourage European governments to adhere to responsible fiscal policy.

The problem is that the crisis was not created overnight, but it is result of decades of mistakes. Therefore we can not resolve it by waving a magic wand, says Merkel. “We are facing a long and difficult road,” she added.

If the crisis deepened in the euro zone before the next elections in Germany in which one or more countries are forced to leave the union – an event with serious economic consequences for the region as a whole, even the most skillful political maneuvering would not save Chancellery chair.

China wants to save Europe again

New request from China to help Europe was made the day on which European leaders gathered for the second three days meeting, which had to be sought the debt crisis and problems in Greece.

Emerging market economies and China in particular are reluctant to participate in the European Support Fund through the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It said an unnamed source “close to decision makers in Europe,” quoted in “China Daily”.

According to this source, “the consent of the emerging market economies may be included in the final document of the summit of European leaders’ forum in Brussels if they decided to open up that fund for the participation of foreign investors – both private and public. Formal confirmation of this information was not received.

The capacity of the European Financial Stability Fund is now 440 billion dollars. It is believed that in terms of markets that this is not enough for the Fund to cope with the situation, if the crisis infect a large economy such as Italy. Recently emerged ideas fund be increased to 1 trillion euros. Its fate would have been a major subject of discussion at a meeting of leaders of the eurozone.

Reuters said before the meeting of leaders of the euro area, the chances to reach an agreement on measures against the debt crisis appear slim. EU expressed its readiness to support banks, but does not indicate a specific figure for their recapitalization, said in the draft of the meeting, told Reuters. “New York Times” also predicts failure of the meeting.

Discussions to reach a deal on the euro become complicated, including significant restructuring of the Greek debt, pouring new capital in European banks and increasing the rescue fund so as to prevent financial panic in Italy and also in Greece and Portugal, the publication notes. Meanwhile, shortly before the summit, the German Parliament Chancellor Angela Merkel supported the project. Lawmakers of the Bundestag have received a secret report which says that the future of Greece is a bleak.

Airlines in Europe will reduce greenhouse gas emissions with biofuels

European airlines, manufacturers of bio fuels and the European Commission signed an agreement to produce two million tons of eco-fuel for aircraft by 2020, which hope to reduce their environmental footprint, says the online edition EurActiv.

The pact was signed despite the burst debate about how these green fuels are a reality. Participants in the project were signed Airbus, airline Air France-KLM, British Airways and Lufthansa, as well as producers of bio fuels Neste Oil.

Because the debate by first generation bio uels, participants in the agreement plan to focus on more sustainable crops. The company such as Lufthansa are planning to use the wild plant jatropha in the choice of crop to test bio fuel in the mix for flights between Frankfurt and Hamburg for six months after obtaining the certification.

Agreement with Nestle provides for the production of the mixture to use palm oil, but company representatives consider replacing it with other sources. American company Honeywell plant Kamelini used for business flights from North America to Europe.

“The plant is alternated with a rotation period of wheat and weeds replaced during the fallow season, so it does not displace food production,” the company said. “We do not want to compete with crops grown for food for us This is the main focus. ”

Willingness of airlines to use bio fuels as a way to reduce pollution from jet fuel are often attacked because of the use of food crops such as palm oil, which can be used for food.

Earlier in June a report of 10 international institutions including the World Bank and World Trade Organisation has warned governments to be more cautious policies in support of bio fuels as they affect global food prices.

Activists from environmental group “Friends of the Earth ‘claim that the plant Kamelini nevertheless compete with food crops, and for making jet fuel from jatropha released large areas of arable land in Africa and India to fuel quantities required for aviation industry.

“World Bank and the OECD recommended the withdrawal of support for bio fuels, but representatives of the aviation industry continues to insist on its position,” said Robbie Blake from “Friends of the Earth” in Europe. “It would be irresponsible to raise huge amounts of crops for bio fuel for flights, instead of feeding the hungry,” added he.

Meanwhile, British Airways developed fuel waste, which is hoping to fill their planes by 2015.

HTC opens central office in Europe

Chinese mobile manufacturer HTC Corporation today officially introduced its new European headquarters, located in Slough, UK. The company said that the European office of the NTS is developing steadily and now comprises more than 50 countries. Investment in own office markets in Europe, Africa and the Middle East represents the rapid growth that HTC has made in recent years, the Chinese state corporation.

“HTC has achieved growth in all respects in 2011 Our new European headquarters is a natural step to show that we are strongly committed to markets in Europe, Africa and the Middle East,” said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC. The new building will occupy senior management, marketing and sales and engineering teams working on HTC Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The new European headquarters is located on 6.500 square meter area. The building is a former Office of O2 UK and has additional space for 150 new people to be hired over the next 12 months.

HTC aims to increase its influence in Europe, Africa and the Middle East over the next few years. For 2010 the company has sold 25 million units worldwide and has realized a profit of 9 billion USD, which noted 93% increase over the previous year. For the first quarter of 2011 were 9.7 million smartphones sold worldwide, which was 192% increase on an annual basis, 6% increase over the previous quarter. During the quarter, sales of smartphones the company in Europe, Africa and the Middle East have increased by 67% compared to the same period last year.

Heat in Europe

Unbearable heat overlaid Southwest Europe. Spain, France and Belgium are heated to over 30 degrees, and the weathermen predicting cooling until Wednesday.

Spain
Fountains in downtown Madrid offended kids to cool under the hot sun. Authorities warn the elderly and people with heart problems do not go at peak hours to heat. More energetic still preferred to walk, but with an umbrella.

France
High temperatures and not podminaha French capital. Parisians and tourists gathered in droves in the scarce shade.

Belgium
Meanwhile in Belgium tourists enjoyed the heat. 30-degree heat did not surprise local – in spring this year was a record warm Belgium, the highest temperatures since 1887.

Romania
And while Southern Europe will bake a hellish heat, Romanians had to deal with blizzards at the end of June. Temperatures in Romania fell by more than 10 degrees for night and the Carpathians were decorated buried under three feet of snow.

More about Europe map, history and information about the Southwest European countries.

Vettel took the Grand Prix of Europe

World Champion Formula 1 Sebastian Vettel continued his domination of the extreme beginning of the year. 24-year-old German driver Red Bull won the 6th race of the season having triumphed in the Grand Prix of Europe at Valencia street circuit.

Vettel started for the seventh time in pole position and despite fierce competition from teammate Mark Webber and the top pilot of Ferrari Fernando Alonso managed to maintain position.

In the final pit Spaniard stayed a few more laps on the track by Webber and overtake him for second place. Three finals after the podium.

Even I do not think the title says Vettel after the finish, although pulled 77 points ahead of his pursuers main Jenson Button and Mark Webber in the main rankings. “The season is long. Of course, we started the year well and go on like this. It is clear that you do not need to win and take many risks, but our goal is still the same – to win in every race,” said ace of ‘Red Bull “.

Four remained with McLaren Lewis Hamilton, who overtook Massa for Ferrari. Ranked sixth in the other McLaren driver Jenson Button.

Seven times champion Michael Schumacher of Mercedes remained until 17th.

Despite the hellish heat, no pilot is not eliminated from the competition. This happens only for the fourth time in the history of Formula 1. For the first time this happens in the Grand Prix of Holland half a century ago, in 1961 and in 2005 and had two races without dropping – in Italy and the USA.

Next start this season British Grand Prix at the legendary track “Silverstone” on 10 July.

Southeast European countries improve conditions for business

Southeast European countries improve conditions for business in response to the economic crisis and trying to become part of European Union. These are the findings of this year’s study of World Bank Doing Business conditions for entrepreneurs in several countries in the region. It includes several cities in Serbia, Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Moldova and Montenegro.

The survey did not determine the clear winner among the surveyed cities. Each of them has improved conditions in at least three of the four categories tested – starting a business, issuance of building permits, contract signing and registering property. In addition, costs that are incurred in starting a business in the region fell from 22% to 13% of average income per capita. Decreased by about a month is the time for issuing construction certificate and registering property. The improvement is due to the introduction of the one-stop, dropping some of the procedures, the introduction of electronic systems for the administration and judiciary.

Leaders in various categories are different. However, the authors state that in the Macedonian capital Skopje and Banja Luka in Bosnia and Herzegovina has done most to improve the business environment. It turns out that most easily and quickly earning a construction permit from the Montenegrin town of Niksic, the easier the transfer of property in Chisinau and Balti in Moldova. On the other hand, the most difficult to start business in Pristina, Kosovo, most have problems in registering property in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and most difficult is the signing of a contract in the Kosovo town of Prizren. Most problems are entrepreneurs who want to earn a construction permit in Belgrade.

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