EconoGraphics

Why are Google, Apple or Facebook American-born but not European? Concerns about Europe’s lack of innovative start-ups prompted the European Commission (EC) to launch the Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan, aimed at bolstering entrepreneurship culture. Yet blaming European culture would be misleading as vibrant start-up ecosystems in London, Berlin, Milan or Amsterdam attest. In fact, the number of startups in Europe is similar to the US in relative terms, according to the Startup Europe Partnership (SEP).

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Europe's fragile recovery has been ailing from low levels of investment. While GDP and consumption have surpassed their pre-crisis levels, by the end of 2014 gross capital formation was still around 15% below its 2007 peak (€230 billion to €370 billion less than the EU's long term investment average). That is why the EU launched an ambitious investment plan, the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). Its goal is to unlock investments of €315 billion over 3 years and create more than 2 million jobs.

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Refugees are pouring into the European Union (EU) at a scale not seen since the Second World War. In 2015 alone, 893.695 applied for asylum, up from around 250.000 in 2010, according to Eurostat. The magnitude of these influxes has rocked the EU boat, prompting yet another consequential crisis on top of last year’s Greek bailout and the incoming referendum on the UK’s permanence.

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Oil prices have fallen to their lowest since 2003, sitting under $30 a barrel in recent days. Declining expectations of global growth plus the addition of post-sanction Iranian supply don’t spell a substantial price recovery in the immediate future. Under this new market realities, oil-exporting countries come in different form to weather the storm.

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As Greece entered in 2016, the first review of the bailout agreed in August 2015 is not completed yet. Creditors and the Greek Government are meeting next week to discuss a plan for major reforms of the pension system. The goal is to assure the long-term sustainability of the Greek public finances, with proposed cost-saving measures targeting 1 percent of its GDP. Proposals include raising social contributions from employers and employees and consolidating multiple pension organizations into a single operator, among others.

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Europe has virtually emerged from the 2008 crisis, and it is worth comparing the various paths countries took to recovery.

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On December Third, European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi, announced that quantitative easing (QE) would continue as the EU marches along its road to recovery.

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As Cameron continues to walk the tight rope on Brexit, it is worth considering those Britons living abroad.

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Following reports of imminent attacks in Belgium on the weekend of the 21st, Belgium went into lock down. Architects of the Paris attacks hailed from a small, densely packed, commune in Brussels called Molenbeek.

20151125 Molenbeek Combination

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On November 10th, Downing Street released David Cameron's long awaited letter to European Council President Donald Tusk on Great Britain's envisioned reforms to the European Union (EU). With a portion of the ruling Conservative party desiring an EU exit, as well as the rising prominence of the UK Independence Party, unity should not be taken for granted. The majority of the UK population still favors remaining in the EU, but it is nonetheless worth considering the ramifications of an EU exit. 

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