Tag Archives: euro

EU Brexit deal gamble final days

Prime Minister Theresa May said she would be returning to Brussels on Saturday to finalise an Article 50 deal, shaping Britain’s future ties with the European Union after her meeting with the head of the bloc’s top executive Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday failed to bridge the gaps.

Theresa May met European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker for about an hour and a half to try to win commitments aimed at helping her appease rebels at home, including her own camp, opposed to her draft Brexit treaty.

There were some remaining issues which we have discussed,May said afterwards. “I will be returning on Saturday for further meetings, including again with President Juncker to discuss how we can ensure that we can conclude this process.

With just over four months before Britain’s departure, May is trying to conclude the Article 50 deal for a summit of EU leaders on Sunday, November 25,  due to endorse the Brexit accord.

Raising the stakes, EU diplomats said they had been told that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was not willing to come on Sunday for any more talks, meaning a consensus over the deal text must be reached in advance.

Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sanchez  warned  he would vote against the draft deal unless he wins assurances over the disputed peninsula of Gibraltar.

May said negotiators from both sides would continue working on the text. “I believe we have been able to give sufficient direction for them to be able to resolve those remaining issues,” she said.

A spokesman for the European Commission said “very good progress” was made at May’s meeting with Juncker: “Work is continuing.”

Diplomats in Brussels said EU states’ concerns over fishing rights and future trade ties had largely been addressed in the political declaration on the EU-UK future ties that would form a package with the legally binding divorce deal, meaning Spain’s concerns were the final issue to be settled.

“The only thing really outstanding is Gibraltar,” said one EU diplomat.

Seniors welcome to Italian ‘fiscal paradise’

The project of attracting EU senior citizens to Italian southern regions has been proposed by  Lega, the Right wing party ascending power, led by Matteo Salvini, who intends to reverse population decline, offering tax free decade to Europeans, settling in economically fragile areas.

Lega party proposes effective measures to reverse the chronic population decline in traditionally poorer regions of the country, suffering from economic stagnation and high employment by attracting Europeans to settle there promising liberation from tax burdens for 10 years.

The pilot-project will initially focus on three  regions suffering population decline –Sardinia,  Sicily and Calabria.

“We think it could appeal to foreigners – Italy is a beautiful country,” said Alberto Brambilla, economic adviser to Matteo Salvini, now the interior minister and head of leader of of the party.

“We’re trying to provide an incentive for the transfer of older people (towards the south),” Mr Brambilla, who came up with the idea, told La Repubblica newspaper.

The scheme will be open not only to Italians but to the EU citizens, however the seniors remain the major target group of the project.




Greek debt dilemma


In Germany a half of citizens are against offering debt relief to Greece and around three in 10 prefer Greeks to leave the euro zone, a survey showed on Friday.

The INSA poll for the newspaper Bild showed 46.4 percent of people living in Germany, Europe’s paymaster, thought giving Greece debt relief would be unfair for other euro zone countries.

That compared with around one fifth (18.4 percent) who did not share that view and 9.1 percent who said they did not care.

Athens and its creditors – euro zone member states and the International Monetary Fund – agreed on this week to resume talks on a long-stalled review of Greece’s bailout, but only after Greece accepted examination of its reforms for 2019 onwards.

Georgian food toursim to EU


Zurab Matcharadze, Georgian journalist, correspondent of ‘Rezonansi’ newspaper


Today the European Parliament voted in favor of granting the citizens of Georgia the right to 90 days visa to Schengen zone. I do not know about the European Union, but for Georgia it is a  historic decision, being the only tangible result for a regular citizen of the country to the  Euro-Atlantic integration.
This road was long. In June 2005 Georgia unilaterally abolished visa requirements for EU citizens, but the dialogue with the EU on visa liberalization started only in June 2012.
Today the Georgians  support the government’s course towards European integration, but unfortunately the economic situation does not leave much space for enthusiasm. Despite the economic growth, the rate of the national currency – lari to euro has fallen by 40%, subsequently the tourist trip will no longer be an affordable leisure. Having in mind that between Georgia and the EU there is already a functioning Association Agreement, and a comprehensive and free trade agreements, for the representatives of business the visa-free will be an asset in reaching out to potential partners. Having in mind the thousands of Georgians citizens living  in the EU for their relatives it will be an enormous relieve to visit family freely.

However in short-term the visa-free will not have a decisive influence on the mood in society, perhaps, it will not even strengthen the pro-Western sentiment. Moldova is an example, where a visa-free regime with the EU is already in force, but the country has chosen the election of a pro-Russian president.

From the other hand  the visa-free will neutralise expanding anti-Western propaganda, which represents European values as hostile to the Georgian identity. From now onwards, everyone will be able to travel and to see the “decadent West.”

The decision of visa-free removed a huge problem that could harm relations between Georgians and European. Europeans ought  to understand that to a large extent the public opinion is shaped by the presence or absence of sense of injustice.

Georgia believes that the visa-free, although not associated  directly with the issues, but was honestly ‘earned’ by  Georgian peace-keeping in Afghanistan and Kosovo, with the assistance to EU crisis management in Africa. A regular Georgian citizen believes they have earned it.  But after all the agreed criteria for the visa-free, and the failure of some of the EU member-states to adopt a decision without referring to halt mechanism, linking Georgia to the migration crisis, although so far not one illegal migrant had claimed the asylum, or a  blown out of proportion problem of Georgian crime, these issues made a Georgian man in the street felt, that he is treated by Europe unfairly.

In Georgia, the older generation has some “bright” memories about the Soviet times, when they could fly to Moscow for 37 rubles just to dine. Today the price on flights to Europe starts from 19.99 euros, meaning that for pro-European-minded youth it opens a window of opportunities, and for more older, more skeptical and nostalgic public, reminiscent of their “Soviet Motherland” visa-free can mean a revival of a good old tradition of food tourism. Bon appétit!