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News : International Last Updated: Jun 11, 2014 - 2:14 PM


Wednesday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - June 11, 2014
By Finfacts Team
Jun 11, 2014 - 10:09 AM

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Irish Independent

AN Irishman's plan to build the tallest residential building in Europe has collapsed amid recriminations that apparently forced the resignation of a top London banker.

Last November, it emerged that little-known developer Tom Ryan had agreed terms to buy a site in London's Canary Wharf and planned to build a 74-storey apartment block on the site.

The project, which appeared on the front page of the 'Financial Times', would have cost about €1bn to complete.
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Almost as soon as the deal was publicised, though, questions were raised as to whether the 'Hertsmere Tower', as it was called, would be built. Mr Ryan was almost unknown in UK and Irish property circles and had almost no track record in major construction.

Now, the deal has fallen apart. Mr Ryan's firm, Ryan Investments Limited, never closed the deal to buy the site and it was ultimately purchased by a Chinese firm.

GERMAN Chancellor Angela Merkel reaffirmed her support for Jean-Claude Juncker becoming the next president of the European Commission after meeting EU leaders critical of the Luxembourger.


Ms Merkel made her statement after talks in Sweden hosted by Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and also attended by British Prime Minister David Cameron and Dutch premier Mark Rutte.

The informal meeting was held amid a campaign by Mr Cameron, who has promised a referendum on Britain's continued membership of the European Union, to prevent the federalist former Luxembourg prime minister being nominated to head the bloc's executive arm.
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"I have said that for me Jean-Claude Juncker is the candidate for the office of Commission president and that I want to have him as the Commission president," Ms Merkel told a news conference.

Who becomes the next Commission head has generated heated debate since May's EU parliamentary elections, with the risk Britain could be pushed closer to leaving the EU if its opposition to Juncker is not heeded.

The four leaders talked until around 1am on Tuesday, with Ms Merkel's position unchanged, a source at Mr Cameron's office said.

THE Labour Court will today make a last-ditch attempt to end a row that is set to cause two 24-hour strikes at Aer Lingus next week.

Two new work stoppages on Monday and Wednesday will cause traffic chaos for up to 80,000 customers. A dispute over cabin crew rosters has already caused disruption for 28,000 passengers at Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports when staff mounted pickets at the June bank holiday weekend.

The Labour Court said it was acting in the public interest by stepping in to try to resolve the dispute, by inviting the parties to take part in an investigation into the row over rosters.

Following submissions by the airline and IMPACT, the court will issue a recommendation, which will be considered by both sides.

Cabin crew announced the work stoppages after talks with management on a 'five days on, three days off' roster broke down. They want fixed-pattern rosters because they say the current system is exhausting and "erratic".

Kieran McQuinn of the ESRI: Understanding the relationship between the housing market and the real economy is of particular importance to Ireland. The significant fiscal difficulties experienced by the Irish State from 2007 onwards, for example, were in part due to the strong linkages which had developed between taxation revenues and activity in the housing sector in the period immediately preceding this.

Research released as part of the ESRI's budget perspectives conference included new data on households which is used to address how exactly the housing market relates to the real economy.

Since 2011 there has been a considerable increase in the availability of household-level data which can be used to address key policy concerns in the Irish mortgage and property market.

Much of this data has originated from the analysis now underpinning the stress-testing of Irish financial institutions at the Central Bank of Ireland.

One of the main issues addressed in the research is what economists call the "wealth effect" of housing. This is a very important concept which measures the extent to which households change their spending when there are changes in their housing wealth.

Irish Times

Getting a job pays more than staying on welfare for the vast majority of people even when in-work costs like childcare and travel are taken into account, according to a study by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).

The finding appears to debunk the myth that Ireland’s relatively generous social welfare system gives no incentive for people to work.

The research, which will be presented today at the ESRI’s annual Budget Perspectives seminar in Dublin, found close to six out of seven people would be financially better off in work than on welfare.

Among those people in employment or unemployed facing a situation where work pays less than welfare, more than 70 per cent chose work rather than welfare. The findings have important implications for policymakers as it suggests initiatives to improve the reward from work are worthwhile, but will have only a limited impact on overall unemployment.

Martin Wolf: This year is the 100th anniversary of the start of the first World War, the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the 25th anniversaries of the collapse of the Soviet empire and the savage crackdown around Tiananmen Square. One hundred years ago Europe’s fragile order fell apart. Seventy years ago the democracies launched an assault on totalitarian Europe. Twenty-five years ago Europe became whole and free, while China chose market economics and the party state. We have now lived for a quarter of a century in an era of global capitalism. But the political and economic pressures of such an era are also increasingly evident.

In 1913, western Europe was the economic and political centre of the world. It generated a third of world output (even measured at purchasing power parity, which raises the shares of poor countries above those at market exchange rates). European empires controlled most of the world, directly or indirectly. European business dominated world trade and finance. While the US already had the largest integrated national economy, it remained peripheral.

A couple of years back, billionaire US investor Wilbur Ross brought together a number of top executives from the various companies in which his group, WL Ross & Co, is invested.

They met in New York and it included Bank of Ireland chief executive Richie Boucher, who was feeling a touch nervous about the meeting.

To help break the ice, Boucher presented Ross with a Leinster rugby jersey. With the Bank of Ireland brand emblazoned across the chest (as team sponsor), and Ross’s name on the back, the American was charmed by the gesture and proudly modelled the jersey to those assembled.

Property developer Johnny Ronan is gearing up to re-enter Dublin’s office construction market after agreeing to buy a key site beside the former Burlington Hotel along with a UK partner for €40.5 million.

The site has full planning permission for a high density office block with a net floor area of 15,384sq m (166,668sq ft).

Ronan’s acquisition of the best available city-centre site comes as he moves ahead with plans to finally exit Nama by selling a number of office blocks and other commercial investments to repay his personal company debts.

Virtually all of his 25 personal properties were assembled before he became involved in the now defunct Treasury Holdings.

Around €400 million of his personal loans transferred to Nama are being reduced at full price following the sale of his investments.

Irish Examiner

The Government will not have to implement the full €2bn in budget consolidation to meet the 3% fiscal deficit target next year, according to University College Cork economics professor, Seamus Coffey.

The size of the budget adjustment has become a thorny political issue that is likely to test the resolve of the Coalition partners over the next few months.

Both Labour leadership contenders, Joan Burton and Alex White have signalled that they will ease up on austerity if elected.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has said that he will wait until there is greater clarity on tax receipts at the end of the summer before any decisions are made on the scale of adjustment.

Mr Coffey was speaking at a conference on recommendations for the economy following the European Commission’s publication of its Country Specific Reviews last week.

The UCC academic said that the planned consolidation figure for last year’s budget was €3.1bn which ended up as €2.5bn. This year there are a number of factors that are working in the Government’s favour, he added.

Europe

Euro Topics: The wrangling over the top post at the European Commission continued with a mini-summit in Sweden. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who recently declared her support for Jean-Claude Juncker, met there with her colleagues from the UK, Sweden and the Netherlands, who reject him. Commentators urge the heads of government to accept the European Parliament's top candidate, stressing that the EU mustn't allow itself to be blackmailed by London.

The Guardian reports that Angela Merkel has issued a rare public rebuke to David Cameron after the British prime minister reportedly told an European Union summit in Brussels last week that the UK could leave the EU if Jean-Claude Juncker was appointed president of the European Commission.

In a sign of the German chancellor's deep irritation with Cameron over his hardline opposition to Juncker, she said that issuing threats was not part of the European spirit. Merkel spoke out after a meeting of centre-right EU leaders, hosted by Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt at his summer retreat in Harpsund.

The three leaders, together with the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, reached agreement on the need for the European council – the body comprising the 28 EU leaders – to work with the European parliament on speeding up reform on areas including freedom of movement and liberalisation of digital services.

But Cameron found himself isolated as Merkel said that Juncker was still her preferred candidate. Rutte and Reinfeldt called for a wide-ranging EU reform programme to be decided before choices about candidates are made.

Merkel's big chance as mediator: A consensus must be reached before the European Council and the EU Parliament decide who should be the next EU Commission president - and Angela Merkel is the one who can achieve it, the conservative German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: "The Chancellor is now attempting to mediate, not least because she finds herself in a classic dilemma. She wants to prevent a power shift from the Council to the Parliament or a major dispute between the two bodies, but she backed Juncker in the election. Merkel must get Juncker to be more conciliatory and demand more tolerance from those who oppose him (first and foremost British leader David Cameron). If she manages to satisfy both sides, she will show herself to be Europe's true leader. The fact that others are trying to prevent just this outcome doesn't make her task any easier."

Stop tolerating British blackmailing: The EU shouldn't allow itself to be blackmailed by Cameron any more, political analyst Ignacio Torreblanca warns in his blog with the left-liberal Spanish daily El País: "Cameron apparently hasn't learned anything. In December 2011 he threatened to block the so-called 'fiscal compact' - which the members of the EU were negotiating - if the UK wasn't granted certain concessions. ... Now he's making the same mistake again: trying to block Juncker's nomination vociferously and publicly, even though he has no right of veto [as in this case only a qualified majority, not unanimity, is required in the Council]. ... If he is serious about his threats and the UK is indeed contemplating leaving the EU, its EU membership has long since become pointless anyway. If it's not this then it will be something else, the leaders of the other countries think to themselves and ask: Why continue to live with the permanent threat of blackmail?"

British didn't discuss Juncker before EU vote: One reason for the dispute over the post of EU Commission president is the very different level of coverage the European election campaign received in the respective EU states, political scientists Simon Hix and Stuart Wilks-Heeg write on the blog EUROPP of the London School of Economics: "Battles between governments over the interpretation of the Treaty are reasonably common in EU politics. But what is perhaps surprising this time - and more worrying for the future of the EU and Anglo-German relations - is how the media in Germany and the UK have taken completely different views of the process. The different level of media coverage of the campaign for the Commission President is one of the main reasons why German and British voters and the political elites in Berlin and London have a completely different understanding of how European Parliament elections work."

South Stream: EU gets tough on Russia: At the behest of the EU, Bulgaria decided on Sunday to suspend plans for the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline. Brussels had objected to Bulgaria's having awarded the contract to a Russian consortium. The conservative Polish daily Rzeczpospolita supports the building freeze given that it is mainly aimed at stemming Russian expansion in Ukraine: "This is the right strategy to counter Russia and Putin. The attempts to start a dialogue aren't going anywhere. Unfortunately we must stick to the facts here. Only by interfering with the goals Russia is pursuing in Europe and across the globe can we force this country to respect its neighbours' rights to independence and territorial integrity. ... It's hardly surprising that Bulgaria's step has aroused concern in Moscow. After all, South Stream is one of Gazprom's key investments and Sofia's decision gets in the way of the Russian monopolist's expansion plans."


© Copyright 2011 by Finfacts.com

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