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Friday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - November 21, 2014
By Finfacts Team
Nov 21, 2014 - 11:01 AM
The Government's new water charges plan puts the country at risk of missing the Troika's budget target next year and plunging the country into another round of cuts and tax hikes, EU officials warn.
The Troika has also been surprised at the scale of the public backlash over Irish Water, which they believed was a done deal when they left a year ago.
"The political landscape is now more challenging for the Government on all reform fronts," sources close to the European Commission said.
The next challenge for the Government is to ensure the new water charges plan passes EU spending rules.
James Downey: The team who monitored our compliance with the terms of the EU-ECB-IMF bailout left Dublin at the end of 2013. Since the beginning of this year, the Fine Gael-Labour Coalition has struggled again and again with a series of grave difficulties, mostly of the Government's own making.
Was that a coincidence? Did it arise from ministers' weariness as they coped - with a good deal of success - with the consequences of the economic crisis? Or from their inability to overcome the faults of our dysfunctional system of governance?
Perhaps - and here's a solemn thought - their subconscious minds told them that they could revert to complacency once the Troika had reduced, though not completely ended, its job of supervision. If so, we are in worse trouble than we imagined.
Whatever the causes of the Government's troubles, they have now culminated in the water controversy. This time, ministers belatedly realised that they had a crisis on their hands and devoted some brainpower and some concentration to alleviating it.
It's too soon to judge whether they have set it to rest. The answer seems to be yes - for the time being. More troubles lie ahead for the next government and the one after. But what Government worries about anyone's troubles but its own?
The European Central Bank is ready to act in a timely manner if low inflation persists, ECB President Mario Draghi said today.
We will continue to meet our responsibility – we will do what we must to raise inflation and inflation expectations as fast as possible, as our price stability mandate requires of us," Draghi said in a speech at an annual banking congress.
"If on its current trajectory our policy is not effective enough to achieve this, or further risks to the inflation outlook materialise, we would step up the pressure and broaden even more the channels through which we intervene, by altering accordingly the size, pace and composition of our purchases."
He also warned about the difficult economic situation in the euro zone, where growth remained weak and where no improvement in the coming months was expected.
President Barack Obama has unveiled temporary measures allowing millions of illegal immigrants, including, it is estimated, thousands of Irish, to live and work in the US without the risk of being deported.
The proposals include a relaxation of restrictions allowing qualifying Irish immigrants to travel between the US and Ireland, ending – for some – years of missing important family occasions.
In the face of strong opposition from Republicans in Congress, Mr Obama is bypassing his political opponents with executive actions, lifting the threat of deportation for about five million illegal immigrants.
Shares at Intel jumped to their highest level in almost 14 years after the world’s largest chipmaker gave an optimistic forecast for 2015 yesterday.
Sales are expected to benefit as the company pushes into markets outside personal computers. Revenue next year will increase by a percentage in the “mid-single digits”, and gross margin will be about 62 per cent, the California based company said in a statement.
Analysts were projecting sales growth of 3 per cent. The company is to raise its annual dividend by 6.7 per cent to 96 cents a share.
EU trade ministers gather in Brussels today for discussions on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) amid increasing concern in Brussels about the commitment of the US to completing a deal before the 2016 US general election.
Minister for Enterprise Richard Bruton is among those attending today’s meeting which will be the first chaired by the new EU commissioner for trade, Cecilia Malmström. Separately, Irish commissioner Phil Hogan is one of four EU commissioners who will hold bilateral meetings with US negotiator Michael Froman on the EU-US trade deal today in Brussels, ahead of Malmström's visit to Washington on December 9th.
The Government’s new measures on charging for water have dealt with all but one of the major concerns expressed by protesters, writes Michael Clifford
On Wednesday evening, some hours after Enda Kenny told his ministers to go forth and sell Irish Water Mark II, a great selling opportunity was presented on RTÉ’s Prime Time.
Here was a chance to look the opponents in the eye and tell them that their concerns had been listened to, their pain felt. The common good was now the main issue. Challenge them to embrace the cheapest water in Europe, and look forward to having a modern water infrastructure fit for purpose. And representing the Government was… well, nobody really.
Euro Topics: Art a bridge between Germans and Greeks: The next edition of Documenta, one of the world's most important exhibitions of contemporary art, is planned to take place in Athens as well as in its main location in the German city of Kassel in 2017. An excellent opportunity to break with German stereotypes about Greece, the web portal Protagon believes: "This is perhaps the real value of documenta 14, apart from its artistic significance. On the one hand the Greeks could wake up and see the cultural, diplomatic, economic and tourism-related opportunity they are being given. On the other, the Germans could free themselves of the stereotypes the German media inundated them with during the crisis. Instead of giving rise to another German-Greek confrontation, the event can build a bridge for more mutual understanding and acceptance."
Nokia has nothing to lose with tablet: Nokia presented its new tablet computer on Tuesday, the Finnish telecommunications company's first mobile device since the sale of its mobile phone division to Microsoft. The liberal daily Karjalainen approves of the step: "Nokia put just its brand name, the user interface and the design into the tablet, which was manufactured by Chinese company Foxconn. The Chinese contractor is in charge of the technology, manufacture and sale of the device. This is common practice among many brands so why shouldn't it be good enough for Nokia? Nokia is still one of the 100 best known brands worldwide, and shouldn't let consumers forget its name. True, the competition on the tablet market is fierce. But Nokia can take its chances here because it has nothing to lose."
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