Spain Tries to Attract More Expats

Barcelona Spain
Skyline of Barcelona, Spain (Unsplash/Anastasiia Tarasova)

Maybe I left Spain too soon. The country is trying to lure (back) expats by cutting red tape and taxes.

Early in the pandemic, expats and tourists stayed away when Spain imposed one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe. For weeks, we weren’t allowed to leave our homes except to do groceries and walk the dog.

But as restrictions were relaxed, and teleworking became the norm Europe-wide, sunny Spain suddenly looked more attractive to knowledge workers in Northern Europe. Tens of thousands made the trek south.

Pedro Sánchez wants them to stay. Read more “Spain Tries to Attract More Expats”

Biden Did Not End Trump’s Trade War with Europe

Kamala Harris Joe Biden
Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden of the United States deliver a news conference outside the White House in Washington DC, May 13 (White House/Adam Schultz)

During last year’s presidential election, Joe Biden promised to end America’s “artificial trade war” with Europe. His predecessor, Donald Trump, had imposed $7.5 billion worth of tariffs on European aluminum and steel.

Biden has relaxed the tariffs, but not abolished them. The EU has completely pulled down its retaliatory tariffs on bourbon whisky and Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

If anyone deserves credit for ending the trade war, it’s the EU. Read more “Biden Did Not End Trump’s Trade War with Europe”

Great British Railways: Neither Public Nor Private Enough

Waverley train station Edinburgh Scotland
Waverley railway station in Edinburgh, Scotland (iStock)

This week, the British government published its long-awaited and somewhat delayed review into the British railway network.

The proposals — putting infrastructure, timetables, fares and tickets back into government hands but allowing private companies to run the trains — are a step in the right direction, but they would keep the network in a twilight zone.

British rail is neither fully private nor fully public, despite the government and the Treasury in particular having control over many aspects of the railway. Accountability is murky. Industry fragmentation — 29 train companies, fifteen leasing companies — has only made it worse. Read more “Great British Railways: Neither Public Nor Private Enough”

Dutch Extend COVID Aid for Businesses

The Hague Netherlands
Dutch government offices and parliament buildings in The Hague (iStock/Fotolupa)

The Dutch government has extended support for companies and self-employed workers struggling as a result of COVID-19 until July 2021, although some policies are becoming less generous.

The thinking, reports the national broadcaster NOS, is that firms shouldn’t be subsidized if they aren’t viable long term and workers in sectors with job losses should be coaxed into reskilling.

The measures will cost almost €39 billion this year. The Dutch economy is projected to shrink 6.4 percent. Read more “Dutch Extend COVID Aid for Businesses”

Trump Bans TikTok. Where Is the Party of Free Enterprise?

Donald Trump
Donald Trump gives a speech in Derry, New Hampshire, August 19, 2015 (Michael Vadon)

As if we needed more proof the Republican Party has surrendered all its principles to Donald Trump, the president is trying to ban a private company by executive fiat and the party of free enterprise is silent.

Trump may have a point on the merits. The Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok has a lot of problems, not in the least its vulnerability to state interference.

But I don’t doubt the only reason Trump cares is that teenagers used TikTok to disrupt one of his rallies in June. They organized a campaign via the app to buy tickets to Trump’s event in Tulsa and never showed up, humiliating the president, who faced a half-empty arena. Read more “Trump Bans TikTok. Where Is the Party of Free Enterprise?”

Thanks to Republicans, the Next Economic Crisis Will Be Worse

Chicago Illinois
Chicago, Illinois at night (Unsplash/Max Bender)

Ten years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, economists Brunello Rosa and Nouriel Roubini — who famously predicted the Great Recession — warn that the next financial crisis is already in the making.

Of the ten warning signs they see, six are due to the policies of the Republican government in the United States. Read more “Thanks to Republicans, the Next Economic Crisis Will Be Worse”

EU Shields Companies from Trump’s New Sanctions on Iran

Donald Trump Giuseppe Conte
American president Donald Trump and Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte arrive to a NATO summit in Brussels, July 12 (NATO)

The European Union has announced measures to protect companies that do business with Iran from American sanctions.

The BBC reports that an EU “blocking statute” bans European firms from complying with the sanctions, unless they get approval from the European Commission.

It also enables businesses to recover damages resulting from American sanctions on Iranian cars, gold and other metals. Read more “EU Shields Companies from Trump’s New Sanctions on Iran”

Macron Unveils Small-Business Reforms and Privatizations

Christian Kern Emmanuel Macron
Austrian chancellor Christian Kern and French president Emmanuel Macron visit Salzburg, August 23, 2017 (BKA/Andy Wenzel)

French president Emmanuel Macron has unveiled new economic reforms benefiting small and medium-sized businesses:

Dutch Caribbean Caught Up in ConocoPhillips-Venezuela Oil Dispute

Willemstad Curaçao
Cruise ships moored in Willemstad, Curaçao (Shutterstock/Galina Savina)

The Dutch Caribbean have been caught up in a legal dispute between the American oil company ConocoPhillips and the government of Venezuela.

A judge has allowed Conoco to seize Venezuelan-owned and -operated refineries on the islands in order to collect $2 billion in compensation awarded by the International Chamber of Commerce for the 2007 nationalization of Conoco assets in the socialist-run country.

The seizure poses a “potential crisis” to the economy of Curaçao, Prime Minister Eugene Rhuggenaath has told Reuters. The Isla refinery, which processes 335,000 barrels of oil per day, accounts for a tenth of the island’s economy. Read more “Dutch Caribbean Caught Up in ConocoPhillips-Venezuela Oil Dispute”

Europe Can Stand Up to American Threats on Iran

Donald Trump
American president Donald Trump arrives in Salt Lake City, Utah, December 4, 2017 (ANG/Annie Edwards)

Leonid Bershidsky is optimistic the EU can stand up to American threats and continue doing business with Iran. He writes for Bloomberg that the stakes are higher than President Donald Trump seems to realize:

With its influence on SWIFT, the Brussels-based payment-facilitation system, and its trade power, the EU is capable of blunting US sanctions. If they prove ineffective, and Iranians merely rally around their government as Russians have done in the face of American restrictions, the US may be exposed as less of a fearsome global policeman than Trump would like it to be. Read more “Europe Can Stand Up to American Threats on Iran”