(February 2012) Switzerland is Europe's innovation leader outperforming all EU27 countries. In the EU’s 2011 Innovation Scoreboard (IUS), Sweden leads, followed by Denmark, Germany and Finland. Ireland, benefiting from the strong impact of innovative foreign companies in the economy, gets a 12th ranking, just above the EU average, from a sample of 35 European countries. Comparing the EU27 with a selected group of major global competitors shows that the US, Japan and South Korea have a performance lead over the EU27.
Merkel urges painful structural reforms; Monti calls for better enforcement of EU's single market rules
(February 2012) Angela Merkel, German chancellor, on Tuesday - - the 20th anniversary of the day (February 07, 1992) European Union leaders signed the Maastricht Treaty, which laid the foundation for the creation of the euro - - said a a long and painful process of structural reforms is required to restore the level of economic growth to the Eurozone needed to overcome its debt crisis. Also on Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal published an interview with Mario Monti, Italian prime minister, in advance of his meeting with President Obama on Thursday. He calls for better enforcement of the rules of the EU's single market and says: "Europe won't be a nice place in five years if we have not solved the issue of how to have Europe grow economically. What will growth policy have to look like in a fiscally compacted Europe? Clearly any illusion of budget stimulated growth policy will have to go away."
(February 2012) The contrasting trade fortunes of the two biggest economies in the Eurozone were vividly illustrated this week when France on Tuesday reported that the negative gap between exports and imports had widened in 2011 to €69.6bn from €51.5bn in 2010. Today, Germany reported that its foreign trade balance showed a surplus of €158.1bn in 2011. In 2010, the surplus amounted to €154.9bn.
European renewable power capacity hit record in 2011 as renewables accounted for 71.3% of new installations
(February 2012) European renewable power capacity hit a record in 2011 as renewables accounted for 71.3% of new installations: 32,043 MW - - up 37.7% on 2010 installations. Both fuel oil and nuclear power saw a drop last year, with more capacity decommissioned than installed. The EU has a target of getting 20% of all energy for power, heating and transport from renewables by 2020 but cash-strapped governments have begun targeting energy subsidies.
(February 2012) Weekly News Summary -- week ending Feb 04, 2012: Monday's Eurozone agreement on a fiscal compact, the surprise jump in US jobs in January, Facebook's IPO and rises in global manufacturing and services activity, dominated news this week. In Ireland, the Central Bank sharply downgraded its 2012 growth forecast. Meanwhile, against a backdrop of widespread public anger about ‘corporate excess’, the Financial Times reports that the Church of England's £5.5bn portfolio, managed by its commissioners, is now one of the largest UK investors in an industry that has gained notoriety for its large pay packages - - hedge funds.
(February 2012) Daily News Digest - - Fri Feb 03, 2012: Key Irish and international news at a glance; Rising wages in developing countries and other factors have made keeping manufacturing work in the United States a much more viable option, the Obama administration argues...China Daily reports that Chinese President Hu Jintao said Friday that China was ready to push forward its long-term, healthy and in-depth development of strategic partnership with Germany over the decades to come...The yield on ten-year Italian bonds dropped on Wednesday to levels not seen since October 2011. Investors seem to have gained renewed confidence in Italy, making the country a model for how to save Europe, writes the French weekly magazine Le Point.
(February 2012) Venture capitalists put €4.4bn into 1,012 deals for European companies in 2011, a 14% decline in investment and 19% drop in deal flow from 2010, marking the lowest annual deal count for Europe since at least 2000. In contrast, US venture capital fundraising for all of 2011 totaled $18.17bn from 169 funds, a 32% increase by dollars compared to 2010 and with the same number of funds. VC fund raising in 2007 was $31bn. In data comparable to Europe's, US venture capital investment slowed in the fourth quarter of 2011 as investors put $7.4bn into 803 deals for U.S.-based venture companies, a decline in both capital invested and deal activity from the third quarter. In all of 2011 investors put $32.6bn into 3,209 venture deals, a 10% increase in capital raised and 6% increase in deals from 2010.
Ageing: Standard & Poor's warns of credit downgrades of big developed economies from 2015 because of rising healthcare costs - - Part 5
(February 2012) Ageing: Governments in big developed economies will face 'ballooning' debt levels and rating downgrades if they don't seek to limit the impact on their budgets of rising healthcare costs, Standard & Poor's, the US ratings agency warned Tuesday. Without policy changes, the burden on the public finances will grow and “weigh on sovereign creditworthiness” with credit rating downgrades starting in 2015
(January 2012) Daily News Digest - - Tues Jan 31, 2012: key Irish and international news at a glance; Bloomberg reports that European governments moved toward a confrontation over a second rescue package for Greece, just as a dimming fiscal outlook in Portugal opened a new front in the debt crisis. Euro leaders left a Brussels summit late yesterday with no accord over how to plug Greece’s widening budget hole and German Chancellor Angela Merkel voicing frustration with the Athens government’s failure to carry out an economic makeover.. .The Guardian reports that mealtimes used to revolve around the kitchen table, but the fast-food boom is changing Britain and its high streets, as US food chains Subway, Starbucks and McDonald's set out to conquer a recession-weary nation still hungry for instant gratification.
(January 2012) Daily News Digest - - Fri Jan 27, 2012: Key Irish and international news at a glance; A panel of European leaders at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, voiced optimism over the latest efforts to establish a framework for fiscal discipline to save the euro. A top priority is re-establishing confidence in both the euro and in the ability of European countries to engage in serious belt tightening. Ireland’s Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, said that citizens in his country “simply went mad, borrowing” but that tight discipline including cuts in wages are now bringing the situation around.. .The Japan Times reports that the Japanese government will start talks next month on lowering the voting age from 20 to 18, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said Thursday. Though long debated, no panel meeting has been held on the issue since April 2010.