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A legjobb gyógyszer a megelőzés, de...

Magyar Szó (Szerbia/Vajdaság) - Wed, 27/05/2015 - 14:07

Csaknem harminc százalékra emelkedett a biztosított termőföldek aránya az utóbbi pár napban, amióta Szerbia déli részén hatalmas jégeső verte el az ottani málnatermesztők termését. Előtte ez az arány csupán nyolc százalék volt, de a termelők továbbra sem bíznak vakon a biztosítókban.

Europe’s slow train to nowhere

Europe's World - Wed, 27/05/2015 - 14:04

Europe’s infrastructure gap stands high among the many problems challenging its economy, and particularly in the field of transport. The last few years of crisis and austerity have led national governments to slow their investments in this field, not least where maintenance work and the renewal of rolling stock are concerned.

These shortcomings should be placed against a background in which the European Union has over the last two or three decades devoted much attention to transport infrastructure, especially when cross-frontier links between neighbouring countries were concerned. It has been done so because for the single market to be truly effective, Europe must have a well-integrated infrastructure. This was clearly set out back in 1992 in the Maastricht treaty’s reference to trans-European networks (TEN) not only in transport, but in energy and telecommunications too.

“Europe’s main problem will be attracting private capital to finance infrastructure through public-private partnerships”

In the following year, a European Commission White Paper on growth, competitiveness and jobs underlined the pivotal role of TENs in the development of the internal market and for job creation. Then, in 1994, the European Councils of Corfu and Essen saw EU leaders approve 14 “priority projects” for transport and 10 for energy. That was followed in 1996 by guidelines for developing the promised European transport network.

In the context of the EU’s “Big Bang” enlargement, and to cope with various financial difficulties, the infrastructure plan was reviewed and expanded in 2004. Since then, the infrastructure gap between the EU’s older and newer member states has been reduced, but some considerable differences remain. In some of the older ones, the quality of their infrastructures has deteriorated because not enough has been spent on maintenance and the modernisation of ageing networks. In most of the newer EU countries, basic networks have still to be completed.

The financial picture is daunting. The cost of rehabilitating existing networks is now estimated at around €20bn a year, and on top of that there are huge new investment requirements. A study carried out in the context of the Commission’s 2011 White Paper on Transport, “Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area”, calculated that for Europe’s transport infrastructure to cope with the expected demand, investments of €1.5 trillion were needed between 2010 and 2030. The Commission estimated that just for the trans-European transport network from 2014 to 2020 the investment costs would be €500bn, half of which are needed to address the main bottlenecks, missing cross-border rail and inland waterway links and horizontal priorities like air and rail traffic management.

“The cost of rehabilitating existing networks is now estimated at around €20bn a year, and on top of that there are huge new investment requirements”

The end of 2013 saw a re-organisation of infrastructural priority projects accompanied by a new financial instrument within the EU’s 2014-2020 budget named the “Connecting Europe Facility”. Over €32bn, which includes €10bn from the EU’s cohesion fund, will cover energy and telecommunications infrastructure as well as transport, with the latter expected to benefit from €26.3bn of EU co-financing.

The EU’s new transport infrastructure guidelines pay special attention to high-speed and high-capacity rail, and aim at an EU-wide multimodal and interoperable “core network” by 2030. It is to consist of nine “Corridors” that are to increase efficiency and speed up both passenger and freight services. They will also promote links been rail, airports and sea ports.

So much for the EU’s ambitions. There remains, however, a huge divide between Europe’s infrastructural needs, which so far are mainly dependent on public funding, and ways of closing the gap. The resources of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) are quite modest when compared to Europe’s needs. The CEF’s call for proposals that closed this year at the end of February with available funding of €12bn was oversubscribed by more than three times. The European Fund for Strategic Investments, best known as the “Juncker Plan”, may be able to support those projects that the market is ready to undertake, like motorways, airports or the more efficient ports, but important projects like alpine tunnels, will still have to rely on public sector support.

It is still too soon to assess the Juncker Plan, but comparing it with other approaches can be interesting. In the U.S., one of the key pillars of the Obama Administration’s counter-cyclical strategy consisted of raising more than $100bn to provide federal support amounting on average to 35% to state and local infrastructure investment. In all, the U.S. government’s effort was equal in size to the Juncker Plan’s target of around €315bn. The latter, though, mainly provides leverage and guarantee instruments out of the EU budget to mobilise private capital rather than the fresh money that was the case in the United States. So far, European Institutions have not been allowed to raise money in the capital markets when earmarked for specific purposes like project financing.

Europe’s main problem will be attracting private capital to finance infrastructure through public-private partnerships (PPPs). Good examples of this sort of partial financing are important projects like France’s high-speed Tours-Bordeaux railway link and the Oresund link between Denmark and Sweden, and it is hoped these will be followed by many more. Some existing European financial instruments like project bonds, the loan guarantee instrument for trans-European transport projects, or the Marguerite Fund offer incentives for private capital to become involved, but so far their track-record is rather modest. But in these times when liquidity is abundant and so many institutional investors are looking for long-term opportunities, it should be possible in theory to attract the private sectors. The conditions for doing so need to be carefully analysed, and have much to do with the quality of projects, procurement procedures and the regulatory context in which financial institutions have to operate – Basel III for banks and Solvency II for insurance companies. Some of these pre-requisites play quite a different role in the case of private rather than public funding.

A good many infrastructure projects can be seen as “public goods” that produce long-term economic benefits that rarely have a price in the market, and consequently rely mainly on public financing; in other words, are typical cases of “market failure” that call for public intervention. But when private financing is to be involved, that calls for a better identification of the positive overall economic benefits. Unlike with public funding, when private capital investment in a project produces such benefits as less pollution, less congestion and fewer accidents there must be an appropriate financial return for the investor. An interesting example of this problem is the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme on greenhouse gasses, which applies to air transport but not to rail.

“Rather than seek private sector partners, EU’s national governments struggle with their public finances”

Other possible financial sources could be a better use of both the “user pays principle” and the “polluter pays principle”. Interesting examples are the tolling system for freight in Germany, and more generally the Swiss Alp transit scheme. Cross-financing, as in the case of the Brenner Base Tunnel for rail which is partly financed by the existing motorway, could also provide financial support for some projects, because they are in some sense an extension of the polluter pays principle.

A much more active role for private funds is not only desirable but very necessary, but many of the EU’s national governments still seem reluctant to encourage this. Rather than seek private sector partners, they struggle with their public finances. Whenever there are budget problems, infrastructure spending is at best rescheduled if it isn’t cancelled. When funds are made available, they are often quite modest, witness the €10bn two-year package in Germany to cover federal as well as local projects. EU governments continue to be very reluctant to take on more debt for infrastructural development, even though borrowing conditions are at present very favourable.

Another problem is the way PPPs are treated by the current Eurostat rules concerning the calculation of overall public debt in relation to the eurozone’s Growth and Stability Pact. Without re-opening the debate on the “golden rule”, a more favourable treatment of investment spending, especially when compared to current consumption, for projects being scrutinised at both national and European levels would seem to make a lot of sense.

A major debate is needed on all these issues. If we fail to address these problems and resolve them, Europe’s transport infrastructure will soon start to fall apart. If that happens, a severe blow will be delivered to our hopes of economic recovery in a Europe that is becoming the “old continent” in so many senses.


Photo credit: Flickr Tim Boric



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Categories: European Union

En RDC, la police de Kinshasa se prépare aux échéances électorales

RFI /Afrique - Wed, 27/05/2015 - 14:00
Les élections approchent en RDC avec pour commencer les provinciales qui doivent être organisées au mois d'octobre. La police nationale vient d'être dotée du matériel pour la sécurisation des scrutins. Ce lundi à Kinshasa, le gouverneur de la ville province, André Kimbuta Yango, a remis ce matériel aux unités de la police nationale.
Categories: Afrique

Mode d'emploi et favoris : l'élection du président de la BAD en 5 questions

Jeune Afrique / Economie - Wed, 27/05/2015 - 14:00

Le 28 mai, la Banque africaine de développement élira un nouveau président. "Jeune Afrique" décrypte pour vous tous les ressorts de cette élection et livre une analyse exclusive des chances des différents candidats, à 24 heures du scrutin.

Read more ...
Categories: Afrique

Dr Angeliki Dimitriadi spoke in a Toronto conference on migration

ELIAMEP - Wed, 27/05/2015 - 14:00

Dr Angeliki Dimitriadi participated in the annual conference of the Canadian Association for Refugee and Forced Migration Studies (CARFMS) held in Toronto, Canada from the 13th to the 15th of May 2015. Dr. Dimitriadi presented the results of the IRMA project pertaining to Afghan migration to Greece. Full conference program is available here.

Harminc éve megszökött olasz maffiafőnököt tartóztattak le

Magyar Szó (Szerbia/Vajdaság) - Wed, 27/05/2015 - 14:00

Letartóztatott a brazil rendőrség kedden egy volt olasz maffiafőnököt, akit hazájában életfogytiglani börtönre ítéltek egyebek között húsz ember meggyilkolásáért - jelentették be a két ország hatóságai közös sajtótájékoztatón Brazíliában.

Pasquale Scotti a Nápoly környéki camorra egyik vezetője volt. Elfogását követően, még 1984-ben egy kórházablakon kiugorva megszökött az olasz bűnüldöző szervek elől, és - mint most kiderült - Dél-Amerikába menekült. Ott hamis iratokkal új életet kezdett: családot alapított, továbbá ingatlanügynökséget és más vállalkozásokat hozott létre. Éppen két gyermekét vitte iskolába Recife városában, amikor a rendőrség letartóztatta. Brazil családja az eddigi vizsgálat szerint semmit nem tudott előéletéről.

Scotti kilétét az olasz rendőrség tárta fel, miközben olasz állampolgárok gyanús brazíliai ügyleteinek ügyében nyomozott. A nyomozók jöttek rá, hogy a Francisco de Castro Visconti nevet valójában Scotti használja, és ezt követően ujjlenyomattal azonosítani is tudták az olasz bűnügyi nyilvántartásban szereplő férfit.

A maffiatevékenységhez kapcsolódó bűnökkel (egyebek között gyilkosságokkal és zsarolással) vádolt Scotti ellen - nyom nélküli eltűnését követően - Olaszországban lefolytatták a bírósági eljárást, és 2005-ben távollétében elítélték.
Kiadatásáról még nem döntöttek, a brazil igazságügyi minisztériumnak ezt 90 napon belül kell megtennie. A férfit egy szigorúan őrzött börtönbe szállították Recifében.

Russian Submarine Spotted Off Latvia Coast – Latvian Army

RIA Novosty / Russia - Wed, 27/05/2015 - 13:59
Latvian armed forces posted on Twitter that a Russian submarine and ship were allegedly seen near the Latvian border.

Categories: Russia & CIS

Number of voters in Azerbaijan announced

News.Az - Wed, 27/05/2015 - 13:58
The Central Election Commission (CEC) has completed the process of registering voters, commission chairman Mazahir Panahov said at the CEC’s meeting on Wednesday.
Categories: Russia & CIS

Németh Zsolt: a magyar nemzetpolitika fontos színtere az Európa Tanács

Hí (Szlovákia/Felvidék) - Wed, 27/05/2015 - 13:58
BUDAPEST. Az Európa Tanács (ET) fontos színtere a magyar külpolitikának és nemzetpolitikának, a szervezet több olyan kérdéssel foglalkozik, amelyhez magyar nemzetpolitikai érdekek fűződnek - mondta Németh Zsolt (Fidesz), az Országgyűlés külügyi bizottságának elnöke szerdán Budapesten.

European Standardization Summit to discuss role of standards in construction sector

Latvian Presidency of the EU 2015-1 - Wed, 27/05/2015 - 13:57

On 4 June, the 4th European Standardization Summit will take place at the National Library of Latvia in Riga as part of the official programme of the Latvian Presidency and the European Construction Week in Riga. The main topic of the Summit is how standardization can contribute to a cleaner and smarter economy in Europe focusing primarily on the construction sector and such issues as sustainable architecture and construction, energy efficiency of buildings, smart cities, and building design and management.

Categories: European Union

Congo: l’avocat de Marcel Ntsourou mis en difficulté

RFI /Afrique - Wed, 27/05/2015 - 13:54
Au Congo-Brazzaville, le président Denis Sassou-Nguesso est visé par une plainte de l'ancien colonel Marcel Ntsourou, ex-numéro deux des services de renseignement tombé en disgrâce et actuellement en prison. C'est son avocat qui avait déposé la plainte et cela risque de poser problème à maître Amédée Bernard Nganga. Les juridictions congolaises ont en effet décidé de ne plus accepter ses plaidoiries.
Categories: Afrique

Emelkedik a 2014. évi „B” típusú díjtámogatott biztosítások után fizetendő támogatások összege

EU Pályázati Portál - Wed, 27/05/2015 - 13:52
A 2014. évi mezőgazdasági biztosítások díjtámogatására rendelkezésre álló forrás maximális kihasználása érdekében az Mezőgazdasági és Vidékfejlesztési Hivatal (MVH) a 2014. évi biztosítási díjtámogatás kapcsán kifizetett „B” típusú szerződések esetében a támogatás intenzitását az eredeti 48%-ról 63%-ra növelte.
Categories: Pályázatok

Volume of investments in economy made public

News.Az - Wed, 27/05/2015 - 13:51
For the first quarter of 2015.
Categories: Russia & CIS

OSCE Office in Tajikistan supports a high-level conference on regional anti-drugs cooperation

OSCE - Wed, 27/05/2015 - 13:50

DUSHANBE, 27 May 2015 – A high-level conference aimed at consolidating international anti-drug efforts was held today in Dushanbe. The gathering was organized by the State Drug Control Agency with the support of the OSCE Office in Tajikistan and other stakeholders.

The one-day event brought together some 300 high-level participants from Anti-Drug agencies of Afghanistan, Central Asia, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, South Korea, Turkey, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Representatives of the EU Delegation to Tajikistan, UN agencies also took part.

Yury Fedotov, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Executive Director, said: “The need for such efforts was never more important. This process provides a good opportunity for the countries of Central Asia to analyse regional cooperation and coordination in view of the threats posed by Afghan opiates.”

“International cooperation in anti-drug efforts will remain one of the priorities of the state policy of the Republic of Tajikistan”, said Rustam Nazarzoda, Director of Drug Control Agency under the President of the Republic of Tajikistan. He expressed hope that within the current dialogue on the threat of drugs new approaches to strengthen effective measures to control drugs will be developed.

Conference participants adopted a joint statement on consolidation of efforts of international anti-drug cooperation and developing proposals to be included in discussions during the United Nations Special Session of the General Assembly on the World Drug Problem to be held next year.

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Categories: Central Europe

El Partenariado Oriental de la UE a la deriva

Real Instituto Elcano - Wed, 27/05/2015 - 13:48
Comentario Elcano 38/2015 - 27/5/2015
Ruth Ferrero-Turrión
La Asociación Oriental de la UE, fragmentada tanto por el lado comunitario como por el de los miembros del Este, no prosperará sin un diagnóstico ni estrategia unitarios. La transformadora "perspectiva europea" que guió el cambio en los Balcanes ya no es una herramienta tan valiosa.

El Partenariado Oriental de la UE a la deriva

Real Instituto Elcano - Wed, 27/05/2015 - 13:48
Comentario Elcano 38/2015 - 27/5/2015
Ruth Ferrero-Turrión
La Asociación Oriental de la UE, fragmentada tanto por el lado comunitario como por el de los miembros del Este, no prosperará sin un diagnóstico ni estrategia unitarios. La transformadora "perspectiva europea" que guió el cambio en los Balcanes ya no es una herramienta tan valiosa.

EU-Untersuchung: Über vier Espressi täglich können Gesundheit schaden - Wed, 27/05/2015 - 13:47

Die EU-Lebensmittelbehörde schlägt Alarm: Wer täglich mehr als vier starke Espressi oder andere Getränke mit ähnlich viel Koffein trinkt, kann laut einer aktuellen Untersuchung seiner Gesundheit schaden.

Categories: Europäische Union

Thaci: Nagy-Albániáról többet beszélnek Belgrádban, mint Pristinában

Vajdasághírek / Szerbia - Wed, 27/05/2015 - 13:41

Koszovó elítéli a Macedóniában történt erőszakot, jelentette ki Hashim Thaci koszovói külügyminiszter az ENSZ Biztonsági Tanácsa előtt felszólalva. A cikk folytatása …

Read more here: VajdaságMa – Szerbia


Harmincnégy illegális bevándorlót szállított kombijában egy szabadkai

Vajdasághírek / Szerbia - Wed, 27/05/2015 - 13:41

A határrendészet letartóztatott egy szabadkai polgárt, akinek a kombijában több mint 30 illegális bevándorlót találtak. A cikk folytatása …

Read more here: VajdaságMa – Vajdaság