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February 11th – The BESA Times

Sixty-Fourth Edition - Monday, 11th Every week, a complete snapshot of what happened around the world in the past seven days


EU Forecasts

The European Commission released the provisional forecasts about the continent’s economy. From the document, concerns about growth emerge: the data says that growth proved to be lower than expected in the second half of the year. Moreover, the Commission underlines that this weaker phase will last longer than initially projected. The reasons being given are the weakness of world trade and sector- and country-specific problems in the euro area. The document quoted, “the strong momentum enjoyed throughout 2017 is now behind us”. The European Commission cut growth estimates of Germany (from 1.8 to 1.1) and Italy (from 1.2 to 0.2), for different reasons. Germany is burdened by the cooling down of world trade and environmental problems in the automobile sector. On the other side, a worse-than-expected cyclical slowdown, together with lack of confidence by firms and policy uncertainty, explain the downward revision of Italy’s GDP growth.

Italy vs France

Inside European Union, tensions are arising between two founding countries, that is Italy and France. The clash between the governments of these two nations is driven mainly by political issues. France is governed by Emmanuel Macron, the champion of pro-Europeans, whose approval decreased substantially during last year. He’s also having problems at home with the uprising of the yellow vests (gilets jaunes), who ask for his resignation. On the other side, Italy’s new government is formed by a coalition of two so-called “populist” parties: the League and the Five Star Movement. On the 7th of February, France recalled its ambassador from Rome to protest against “interference” in its domestic politics. This happened after Luigi Di Maio, Italy’s deputy prime minister, and Alessandro Di Battista, one of Five Star Movement leaders, met a group of gilets jaunes near Paris.


Did you know:

We could think that in modern Europe there’s no place for poverty, but data from Eurostat reveal that in 2017 more than 22% of EU population was “at risk of poverty or social exclusion”. The definition of this indicator covers the sum of persons who are at risk of poverty or severely materially deprived or living in households with very low work intensity. In Bulgaria nearly 39% of population lives in these conditions. On the other extreme in Finland this share is equal only to 15.7%.


What to expect from the coming week:

In the upcoming week we’ll see if the clash between Italy and France will deepen or a “truce” will be agreed. Theresa May will ask to the Parliament more time in order to try and change the agreement about Irish border. Elections will be held in Nigeria, where citizens will have to choose between President Buhari and the businessman Abubakar. Finally, we’ll get more details about the meeting between Trump and Kim, to be held in Vietnam by the end of the month.




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