Shane Fitzgerald

A portfolio of writing on politics and policy in Europe and Asia

Risky Business

In my last post, I argued that the business landscape in Asia is mined with political risks. This post will consider ways that companies operating in the region can manage those risks.

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Political Risk in a Brave New World

Economic history reminds of just how strange the recent fetishization of the free market really was. A free market based on economic ‘laws’ was always an intensely political object – constructed, regulated and protected by states. Yet investors accepted the premise because it let them ignore messy political questions and instead operate in an abstract realm of quantifiable probabilities. This pristine arena, promised and supported by finance-led globalisation and its flawed economic models, has in the last few years been trampled into a muddy field, mined with socio-political hazards. As Gillian Tett argues persuasively, we have  entered a new age of volatility, in politics and society as much as in finance and economics.

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Asian Views of Europe

What do people in Asia really think about the EU? What does Asia mean to Europeans? These are the kind of question that the Asia Europe Foundation (ASEF) was born to answer. Each year, the Singapore-based think tank commissions studies that investigate ‘the EU through the eyes of Asia’ and ‘Asia through the eyes of Europeans’. The projects gather information from thousands of news reports, hundreds of interviews with opinion leaders and an online survey of more than 12,000 citizens.

The results of this year’s studies were presented at a recent talk at the foundation’s HQ.  They show that, unlike ‘Africa’, ‘Latin America’ or ‘North America’, Europeans don’t really conceptualise Asia  as a regional entity at all. Instead, the rise of Asia is conflated with the rise of China, as the emerging giant dominates both news reports and Europeans’ ‘top-of-mind’ statements about the continent.

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Single Market Act Update 2012

Though Europe’s financial and sovereign debt crisis rumbles on and continues to dominate the Brussels policy-making agenda, it is important to also reflect on those medium and longer term EU policies which will play an important role in shaping the European economies in the years ahead.

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Record High for Eurozone Unemployment

Yesterday, the IIEA published the latest in our series of infographics on European economic issues, this time devoted to the crucial and under-reported issue of EU unemployment.

Today, Eurostat published its latest ‘Euroindicator‘ on unemployment, showing further increases in the EU27 joblessness rate from 9.7% to 9.8% and in the euro area rate from 10.2% to 10.3%.

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Europe’s New Sovereign Default Regime

Trinity College Dublin’s Institute for International Integration Studies and its Policy Institute jointly hosted a seminar yesterday on the European sovereign debt crisis. Chaired by Prof. Philip R. Lane, the seminar heard from a host of leading international experts.

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Fixing Finance (Continued…)

After playing a strong role in negotiations over the ‘six-pack’ of economic governance legislation that has formed the core of the EU’s policy response to the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis, the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) Committee now turns part of its attention back to the no-less imperative task of financial regulatory reform.

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Euro Crisis Comment Roundup III

This post rounds up some interesting reports and analyses of the European economy and the Eurozone crisis that have been published in the last week or two.

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Euro Crisis Comment Roundup II

The euro crisis rumbled on ominously through the week though there was a diversion for EU nerds in the form of the annual State of the Union address, delivered by Commission President Barroso to the European Parliament on Wednesday. As well as reiterating the EU’s support for Greece and defending the role of the Commission and the EU’s ‘community method’, Barroso reaffirmed his organisation’s support for a financial transaction tax (FTT) as a way of clawing back some money from the wayward banking sector. He expanded on his remarks during an interview with the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung on Friday, covered here by Spiegel online.

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Euro Crisis Comment Roundup

It has been another hairy week in European markets as shares in French banks have swung wildly, the Swiss banking giant UBS was shaken by a ‘rogue trading’ loss of $2bn, and European finance ministers held yet another crisis meeting, this time with US Treasury Secretary Timothy Giethner making a guest appearance.

It can be hard to keep up with the pace of events in this escalating crisis, never mind with the relentless stream of commentary, criticism and policy prescriptions from economists, politicians and journalists.

There have however been some worthwhile contributions to the debate in the last few days. This post is an attempt to round some of them up. Please feel free to add your own links in the comment section.

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