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Economic governance

EESC President Henri Malosse takes part in launch of European Year for Development 2015 in Riga

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Henri_Malosse_EESC_0026On 9 January, the European Year for Development 2015 will be launched officially at a special event in Riga in conjunction with the opening of Latvia's presidency of the Council of the EU. European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and the Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma will be among the speakers at the opening.
European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) President Henri Malosse (pictured) has called for a reform of European development policy: "We have to seize the occasion of the European Year for Development to make our policy more effective in resolving the huge problem of poverty. First of all, we should make the policy for development a Community policy. It is also vital to redesign procedures, by reducing the bureaucracy involved, and to concentrate our funding efforts on populations' concrete needs".
The EESC has played an influential role in establishing 2015 as the official European Year for Development (EYD2015). In 2013, the EESC adopted a special opinion on the European Year of Development with rapporteur Andris Gobiņš, which provided firm support for the first ever European Year with a strong global and rights-based dimension. The idea was consistently promoted by the EESC, together with other civil society organisations, the most prominent of which was CONCORD – the European confederation for relief and development – until EYD2015 received official approval from the EU institutions in the spring of 2014.
"It is the first year which explicitly looks beyond the EU's geographic territory and seeks to be more than just about informing people or campaigning. It aims to increase engagement and discussion, and puts civil society at the core of the process. It presents a great chance to go beyond the traditional players by involving more stakeholders, including those from the private sector, trade unions, consumers, environmentalists, NGOs," said EESC member Andris Gobiņš. The EESC has worked to put civil society at the core of EYD2015 and supported the establishment of a broad alliance of civil society organisations, co-ordinated by CONCORD, to play a key role in designing a wide civil society action programme.
EESC President Malosse's statement can be found here.

Economic governance

Discussions kick off among MEPs and national MPs on #EconomicGovernance

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The opening, chaired by Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee Chair Irene Tinagli (S&D, IT), saw interventions from top European politicians leading the implementation of economic governance and its reforms.

Tinagli highlighted the areas where progress is most pressing and on which the European Parliament is working, including completing the banking union and the capital markets union, reforming the architecture of economic governance and more particularly, making economic governance more democratically accountable.

Commission Executive Vice President Dombrovskis and Commissioner Gentiloni presented the institution’s plans to review the architecture of economic governance. Eurogroup President Centeno laid out what finance ministers would be prioritising in the coming months. Zdravko Marić, the current ECOFIN chair, presented the priorities of the Croatian Presidency of the Council.

Fabio Panetta, Executive Board member of the ECB also presented the Eurozone’s monetary outlook and described the actions that the ECB still deems necessary to complete the economic and monetary union (EMU).

You can watch the opening debate here.

The meeting will continue on Tuesday and Wednesday with debates among parliamentarians on taxation, financial services as well as the fight against poverty and the EU long-term budget (MFF).

All information on the gathering can be found here, including all links to the different webstreams of the sessions. The programme is here.

Background

The European Parliamentary Week, as the gathering is known, brings together Parliamentarians from across the EU, candidate and observer countries to discuss economic, budgetary and social matters. It consists of the European Semester Conference and the Interparliamentary Conference on Stability, Economic Coordination and Governance in the European Union.

The aim is to increase democratic oversight of EU economic governance and provides an opportunity to exchange information on best practices in implementing the Semester cycles.

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#Cryptocurrencies: To use or refuse?

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On November 29 bitcoin has cracked another record by reaching $11 000 in price. The largest digital currency has risen to a staggering amount of more than 1,000 percent this year. This has increased total cryptocurrencies capitalization to $300 billion, including $161bn bitcoin capitalization. Second largest digital currency Etherium owns another $46bn of the total share.

The ever-growing cryptocurrencies’ growth rate is directly connected with digital fund-raising campaigns (initial coin offerings, ICO). More than 200 of them took place while 10 months of 2017, with the total amount of investments around $3.5bn.

Regulating bodies pay more attention as the amount of blockchain transactions increases both on national and transnational levels. Global stance with regard to the digital currencies slightly varies: Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Cayman Islands, and Mauritius are the open partisans of the cryptocurrencies development, while others like China, South Korea and Vietnam ban internal circulation of digital money.

The European Union haven’t yet developed a common approach towards the regulation of crypto currencies and ICO procedures, but national and European bodies consider development of the private investors and national economies fraud and speculation safety frameworks.

Bank of France governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau said in June that no public institution can provide Bitcoin’s confidence, mean those who use cryptocurrencies today do so at their own risk. Bundesbank board member Carl-Ludwig Thiele described digital currencies and Bitcoin as more of a speculative plaything than a form of payment. At the same time, the Bundesbank has been actively studying the application of the blockchain technology in its payment systems due to the PSD2 directive coming into effect. De Nederlandsche Bank, the central bank of the Netherlands, therewith created its own cryptocurrency called DNBcoin for internal circulation to understand how it works and then cited blockchain might be naturally applicable within the financial transactions system.

Ewald Nowotny, European Central Bank governing council member, mentioned in November that legislators and central bankers are discussing the models of cryptocurrencies regulation. However, actual legal frameworks provide for the ICO projects correspondence with financial and investment regulation. The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) highlighted the risks related in its statements for investors and firms.

"There are the mechanisms that let cryptoinvestors assess potential risks with regard to the ICO projects. The most significant of them is the initial coin offering project’s compliance assessment to the regulatory requirements, including such directives as 2003/71/EC (Prospectus directive), 2015/849/EP (Fourth Money Laundering Directive), 2004/39/EC (Markets in financial instruments directive – MiFID), 2011/61/EU (Alternative Investment Funds Managers Directive - AIFMD)," explained Alexander Zaitsev, executive director of the Threesixty Elements, S.A. investment company that brings to the European market RAISON, the AI-based mobile platform designed to handle investments and personal finance.

"Other factors that may approve ICO project’s due diligence are the expert executors team and elaborated step by step action plan described in comprehensive white-paper document," added Zaitsev. "In addition to that, it is worth reminding that venture investments are connected with risks and projects that hold large income promises in short time periods are the junk ones a priori. Reasoned approach and thorough project background examination are vital to secure crypto investments."

Thus, developer’s accountability to the financial regulatory frameworks and professional advisor engagement are the parts of a simple strategy that will secure European ICO projects investments within the operational EU legal system.

International expert community and digital currencies market players suppose that the global trend for the common regulative approach development is answering current needs and may play crucial role in securing cryptoinvestors’ interests. According to the chief executive officer at U.S. Global Investors, one of the largest international technological investment firms, society will soon put more trust in digital currencies: "What bitcoin has done, it has woken up everybody to the power of the blockchain technology (the underlying ledger that supports bitcoin), like emails woke everyone up to the internet. At the beginning people didn't trust the internet."

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Economic governance

#Eurozone: Autumn 2017 economic forecast - continued growth in a changing policy context

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The eurozone economy is on track to grow at its fastest pace in a decade this year, with real GDP growth forecast at 2.2%. This is substantially higher than expected in spring (1.7%). The EU economy as a whole is also set to beat expectations with robust growth of 2.3% this year (up from 1.9% in spring).

According to its Autumn Forecast released on 9 November, the European Commission expects growth to continue in both the eurozone and in the EU at 2.1% in 2018 and at 1.9% in 2019 (Spring Forecast: 2018: 1.8% in the eurozone, 1.9% in the EU).

The full press release is available in all languages here.

The Autumn 2017 Economic Forecast is available here.

Commissioner Moscovici's remarks are available here.

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