The French Defense Ministry plans to purchase one thousand Ford Ranger trucks to replace its 32-year-old fleet of Peugot jeeps. The Argentine and South African-built truck, chosen over competing models from Citroen and Dacia, can hold up to five soldiers and boasts a 1,000kg cargo capacity.
Member states in the Council of the EU reached a tentative agreement on April 29 to institute carbon market reforms on January 1, 2019. The agreement came after the Czech Republic defected from the Polish-led blocking minority that would have delayed the reforms until 2021. Due to its heavy reliance on the fossil fuel for electricity, industrial use, and domestic heating, Poland has strongly opposed reforming the current Emissions Trading System, which allows coal to be burnt very cheaply due to a surplus of carbon permits. The new reforms would establish a Market Stability Reserve, withholding surplus permits.
Despite strict guidelines and the revitalized EU Transparency Register, a who’s-who list of lobbyists accredited with the European Commission, several loopholes continue to allow business and interest groups close access to Commission officials. By hiring attorneys instead of registered lobbyists and wooing junior officials rather than their bosses, interest groups can keep their meetings discreet while successfully influencing key legislation. If all else fails, increasing the lobbying budget doesn’t hurt either: between 2013 and 2014, Goldman Sachs reported a 14-fold increase in lobbying expenses in Brussels after the new transparency rules took effect.
Facing expensive rent, limited apartment availability and dismal job prospects, many Slovaks continue to live with their parents well into adulthood. With annual salaries as low as €6000, many young Slovaks can’t afford to pay €500 per month to rent an apartment in central Bratislava. Just as they are living at home for longer, Slovaks are also delaying marriage and parenthood, often waiting until their late twenties to early thirties, a trend seen in other post-communist member states in the eastern reaches of the European Union.
Russia is in the midst of a lost year, with stark economic stagnation and the lowest growth rate since a crippling recession in 2009, according to a new analysis released by the World Bank. With low oil prices persisting since mid-2014, Russia’s oil revenues have plummeted and capital flight has become a growing problem as exporters find a lack of demand for their products abroad. If Russia is slapped with further sanctions over its role in the Ukraine conflict, the world’s largest country could find itself struggling for years to come.
In two bold firsts, Switzerland is issuing ten-year bonds with a negative 0.05 yield, while Mexico has introduced a new 100-year bond denominated in euros with a 4.2 percent yield. With a yield far higher than any comparable eurozone-issued bonds, Mexico’s bond, initially launched at EUR1.5 billion, could see purchasers collectively earn EUR63 million on their investments in 2115.