Connect with us

EU

#Eurozone needs to create its own economic growth at home: ECB's #Lagarde

Published

on


The eurozone needs to create more of its economic growth at home, including via greater public investment, if it is to withstand weakness abroad and become more balanced internally, new European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde
(pictured) said on Friday (22 November), write Francesco Canepa and Balazs Koranyi.

Lagarde did not discuss monetary policy in her first major speech since becoming ECB President at the start of this month, merely saying the central bank would continue to do its part to support the economy.

Instead, she chose to send a message to eurozone governments, calling on them to strengthen domestic demand after a global trade war brought a decade of export-driven growth, largely led by Germany, to an abrupt end.

“The answer lies in converting the world’s second largest economy into one that is open to the world but confident in itself – an economy that makes full use of Europe’s potential to unleash higher rates of domestic demand and long-term growth,” Lagarde said.

Venturing outside the traditional remit of a central banker, she singled out public investment as a key driver of this rebalancing, calling on pan-European funds to be invested in green and digital projects.

“Investment is a particularly important part of the response to today’s challenges, because it is both today’s demand and tomorrow’s supply,” Lagarde said.

“While investment needs are of course country-specific, there is today a cross-cutting case for investment in a common future that is more productive, more digital and greener.”

Her predecessor Mario Draghi had also called for greater spending and investment by countries that run surpluses, such as Germany, but he was never so specific and his pleas fell on deaf ears in Berlin.

Lagarde said stronger internal demand would also help smooth out imbalances between euro zone members, who are unable to devalue their currencies when the economy weakens.

“If internal demand is too weak and inflation too low, such rebalancing across countries obviously becomes harder. And to some extent, this is what we saw in the eurozone after the crisis,” she said.

Lagarde’s avoidance of monetary policy issues marked a departure from Draghi, who often used major speeches to drop hints about upcoming ECB moves - typically increasingly aggressive stimulus measures.

This trait of Draghi’s angered some other ECB rate-setters, particularly those from conservative, cash-rich countries like Germany and the Netherlands.

Unlike Draghi, who took office at the height of the euro zone’s debt crisis in 2011 and took immediate, bold steps to stop the market rout, Lagarde was not under pressure to change the ECB’s policy stance just yet.

“Lagarde meets the expectations that she could become the leading economic and political voice for Europe rather than quickly shaking up the ECB,” Carsten Brzeski, an economist at Dutch bank ING, said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Speaking later at the same conference, Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann reiterated his country’s qualms about the ECB’s easy-money policy.

“Monetary policy cannot be complacent if its policy stance raises long-term risks to price stability through the build-up of financial imbalances,” Weidmann said.

In a symbolic olive branch to the host country of the ECB, Lagarde began her speech by greeting the audience in German and promised to deepen her knowledge of that language.

She had already sought to mend fences with disgruntled policymakers last week, taking the whole Governing Council on a retreat, where they called for more inclusive decision-making.

European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde attends the 29th Frankfurt European Banking Congress (EBC) at the Old Opera house in Frankfurt, Germany November 22, 2019. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

In her only policy-related remarks, Lagarde confirmed she would “soon” start a review of the ECB’s policy framework, a wide-ranging effort that is expected to involve a redesign of its inflation aim.

She then stuck to the central bank’s pledge to keep the money taps open while monitoring the side effects of its stimulus policies.

“Monetary policy will continue to support the economy and respond to future risks in line with our price stability mandate,” Lagarde said.

This well rehearsed stance places her roughly in the middle of advocates of easy money in indebted southern European countries and policy “hawks” north of the Alps.

“She might have to be more specific following her first Governing Council meeting in December, but for now the data does not look weak enough for the ECB to make any change to its monetary stance,” Frederick Ducrozet, a strategist at Picket Wealth Management, said.

coronavirus

EAPM and ESMO bring innovations to health policymakers

Published

on

For the eighth year in succession, the European Alliance for Personalised Medicine (EAPM) has held a high-level conference series alongside the annual ESMO Congress, writes EAPM Executive Director Denis Horgan.

The EAPM conference was opened with the announcement that the following article was published and contributed to by more than 40 experts across the EU on how to bring Greater Accuracy to Europe’s Healthcare Systems: The Unexploited Potential of Biomarker Testing in Oncology.  Please click here to have access.

Sessions include: Session I: Tumor Agnostic, Session II: Biomarkers and Molecular Diagnostics, and Session III: Utilising Real-World Evidence in a health-care setting.  The conference runs from 08.00 – 16.00. Here is the link to the agenda. The conference aims to bring  key recommendations to the EU level, so as to shape the EU Beating Cancer Plan, EU health Data Space, the updating EU Pharmaceutical Strategy as well as the EU Health Union. 

The conference is held following the first State of the Union address by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday (16 September) – in her first annual address, von der Leyen said the coronavirus pandemic had underlined the need for closer cooperation, stressing that people were “still suffering”.

For me, it is crystal clear – we need to build a stronger European Health Union,” she said. “And we need to strengthen our crisis preparedness and management of cross-border health threats.” Von der Leyen said her commission would try to reinforce the European Medicines Agency and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

And she also raised the importance of the European Beating Cancer Plan as well as European Health Data Space. “This will show Europeans that our Union is there to protect all,” she said.

Fabrice Barlesi, medical director of Gustave Roussy, said: “RCTs are no longer the way to go. A way ahead could be EU support for trialing a new drug and delivering data to a centralised registry, which could give good consolidated data from across Europe.”

Divided into three sessions, the EAPM conference at the ESMO Congress, as mentioned,  dealt with such diverse issues as tumour agnostics, biomarkers and molecular diagnostics and real-world evidence in a health-care setting. Concerning cancer, specifically tumours, the congress stated that  tissue-agnostic cancer drugs are antineoplastic medicines that treat cancers based on the mutations that they display, instead of the tissue type in which they appear.

These drugs include, for example, Entrectinib, Pembrolizumab and Larotrectinib. Former Spanish health minister and MEP Dolors Moseratt highlighted her support for the work of EAPM and looks forward to getting the recommendations of the outcomes from the conference.  “The European added value of health is obvious. It would avoid duplication and enable a better allocation of resources. And it will minimize the risk of fragmented access to therapy across member states.”

And the EAPM conference is at pains to seek the best ways forward for the implementation of Real-World Evidence (RWE) into health care in Europe – looking to find consensus with key decision makers, including at member state level, not least with representatives in the European Parliament, on how to proceed in this area. RWE for health care is a simple concept – harnessing various health data in real time to help make faster and better medical decisions.

Real-World Evidence is an umbrella term for different types of health-care data that are not collected in conventional randomised controlled trials, including patient data, data from clinicians, hospital data, data from payers and social data.

Rosa Giuliani, consultant in medical oncology at the Clatterbridge Cancer Center, said: “Key elements to advance the use of TACs is to conduct dialogue that transcends silos, and to explore re-engineering of the development pathway.” And, as far as biomarkers and molecular diagnostics are concerned, a lot has been said about testing, and often the lack of it, in terms of the COVID-19 outbreak, with different countries adopting different strategies and, also, having different resources when it comes to acquiring necessary kits.

The key focus in the ESMO session was on better and more equitable access to biomarkers and molecular diagnostics across Europe.  This is a must, but, as the attendees acknowledged, we’re a long way short of it. Access to personalised medicine and new diagnostic technologies can help resolve many inefficiencies, such as trial-and-error dosing, the potential for increased hospitalisation time due to adverse drug reactions and the problem of late diagnoses. It may also enhance the effectiveness of therapies through better tailored treatment administration.

In conclusion for the morning session, Giuseppe Curigliano, associate professor of Medical Oncology at the University of Milano, and head of the division of Early Drug Development, at the European Institute of Oncology said: “A real challenge to overcome is the different endpoints between investigators and payers. Policy frameworks and co-operation is essential.” The session in the afternoon will focus on utilizing real-world evidence in a health-care setting.

A report will be available next week. 

Continue Reading

Brexit

EU's Barnier still hopes trade deal with Britain possible, sources say

Published

on

By

The European Union’s Brexit negotiator told the bloc’s 27 national envoys to Brussels that he still hoped a trade deal with Britain was possible, stressing that the coming days would be decisive, diplomatic sources with the bloc told Reuters, write and

Michel Barnier addressed the gathering on Wednesday (16 September) and the three sources either participated in the discussion behind closed doors or were briefed on its content.

“Barnier still believes a deal is possible though the next days are key,” said one of the EU diplomatic sources.

A second diplomat, asked what Barnier said on Wednesday and whether there was still a chance for a new agreement with the UK, said: “The hope is still there.”

The first source said tentative concessions offered by the UK on fisheries - a key point of discord that has so far prevented agreement on a new EU-UK trade deal to kick in from 2021 - were “a glimmer of hope”.

Reuters reported exclusively on Tuesday (15 September) that Britain has moved to break the deadlock despite that fact that publicly London has been threatening to breach the terms of its earlier divorce deal with the bloc.

A third source, a senior EU diplomat, confirmed the UK offer but stressed it was not going far enough for the bloc to accept.

Brexit talks descended into fresh turmoil this month over Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plans to pass new domestic laws that would undercut London’s earlier EU divorce deal, which is also aimed at protecting peace on the island of Ireland.

US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden warned Britain that it must honour the Northern Irish peace deal as it extracts itself from the EU or there would be no US trade deal for the United Kingdom.

The third EU source, who spoke under condition of anonymity, said that the bloc would take a more rigid line in demanding a solid dispute settlement mechanism in any new UK trade deal should Johnson press ahead with the Internal Market Bill.

“There is unease about what Britain is doing but Barnier has stressed he will keep negotiating until his last breath,” said a fourth EU diplomat, highlighting the bloc’s wariness about being assigned blame should the troubled process eventually fail.

Asked about an estimate by Societe Generale bank, which put at 80% the probability of the most damaging economic split at the end of the year without a new deal to carry forward trade and business ties between the EU and the UK, the person said:

“I would put it around the same mark.”

Barnier is due to meet his UK counterpart, David Frost, around 1400 GMT in Brussels on Thursday.

Continue Reading

Brexit

Biden warns UK on #Brexit - No trade deal unless you respect Northern Irish peace deal

Published

on

By

US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden warned the United Kingdom that it must honour the Northern Irish peace deal as it extracts itself from the European Union or there would be no US trade deal, write and

“We can’t allow the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland to become a casualty of Brexit,” Biden said in a tweet.

“Any trade deal between the US and UK must be contingent upon respect for the Agreement and preventing the return of a hard border. Period.”

Johnson unveiled legislation that would break parts of the Brexit divorce treaty relating to Northern Ireland, blaming the EU for putting a revolver on the table in trade talks and trying to divide up the United Kingdom.

He says the United Kingdom has to have the ability to break parts of the 2020 Brexit treaty he signed to uphold London’s commitments under the 1998 peace deal which ended three decades of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland between pro-British Protestant unionists and Irish Catholic nationalists.

The EU says any breach of the Brexit treaty could sink trade talks, propel the United Kingdom towards a messy exit when it finally leaves informal membership at the end of the year and thus complicate the border between Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland.

The EU’s Brexit negotiator told the bloc’s 27 national envoys that he still hoped a trade deal with Britain was possible, stressing that the coming days would be decisive, three diplomatic sources told Reuters.

Michel Barnier addressed the gathering on Wednesday and the three sources either participated in the discussion behind closed doors or were briefed on its content.

“Barnier still believes a deal is possible though the next days are key,” said one of the EU diplomatic sources.

Johnson told The Sun that the EU was being “abusive” to Britain and risking four decades of partnership.

He said the UK must “ring-fence” the Brexit deal “to put in watertight bulkheads that will stop friends and partners making abusive or extreme interpretations of the provisions.”

Societe Generale analysts said on Thursday they now see an 80% chance that Britain and the EU will fail to strike a trade deal before the end of the year.

Biden, who has talked about the importance of his Irish heritage, retweeted a letter from Eliot Engel, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives, to Johnson calling on the British leader to honour the 1998 Good Friday peace deal.

Engel urged Johnson to “abandon any and all legally questionable and unfair efforts to flout the Northern Ireland protocol of the Withdrawal Agreement.”

He called on Johnson to “ensure that Brexit negotiations do not undermine the decades of progress to bring peace to Northern Ireland and future options for the bilateral relationship between our two countries.”

Engel said Congress would not support a free trade agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom if Britain failed to uphold its commitments with Northern Ireland.

The letter was signed by Representatives Richard Neal, William Keating and Peter King.

Johnson is pushing ahead with his plan.

His government reached a deal on Wednesday (16 September) to avert a rebellion in his own party, giving parliament a say over the use of post-Brexit powers within its proposed Internal Market Bill that breaks international law.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Facebook

Twitter

Trending