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Spend $2 trillion or risk power blackouts

Written by Cecilia Helland on Tuesday, 17 June 2014. Posted in Germany, Articles of Germany, Main 4, Right bottom - 8st

The lights could be going out across Europe unless it finds a way to stimulate massive new investment in energy infrastructure.

Read more - Spend $2 trillion or risk power blackout

Merkel Chooses Unity over NSA Truth

Written by Cecilia Helland on Friday, 09 May 2014. Posted in Germany, Articles of Germany, Main 1, Left 2 - 3st

There was a time when Angela Merkel was committed to investigating the extent of NSA spying in Germany.

Now, though, the chancellor has made an about face. Trans-Atlantic unity is her new priority, and the investigation has been left to languish.

Read the story at – Spiegel Online

Finland to build fast fibre optic cable to Germany

Written by Cecilia Helland on Tuesday, 17 December 2013. Posted in Germany, Articles of Germany, Main 2, Main 5 - 3st

New data cable would make Finland one of the world's most attractive ICT regions.

Finland intends to build a fast, high-quality and cyber-secure connection to European and global networks from Finland to Germany via an underwater fibre optic cable. Governia, a state-owned special assignment company, has acquired Corenet Oy which will act as the data cable management company. Coronet owns a 7,100-kilometre long network of fibre optic cables in Finland.

According to Tietoviikko magazine, the project is estimated to cost EUR 100 million. One third of the funding could come from the Finnish state, one third from institutional investors and one third from companies in the ICT sector. The new cable will make high-speed data connections available throughout Finland, improving the country’s competitiveness in ICT technologies and digital services.

Global data hub opportunity

According to the Finnish government, both national and international operators and other stakeholders have expressed their interest in the project. A number of significant international ICT and Big Data businesses have also signalled their willingness to invest after the opening of the new connection.

So far, all data transmission to Finland has taken place via Denmark and Sweden. “With the new cable, Finland has the opportunity of becoming a unique global data hub. This will enhance Finland’s position in global competition and create new growth opportunities for our ICT technology,” says Pekka Haavisto, minister responsible for state ownership steering.

“One day, a cable running under the North-East Passage could be linked to the Finnish and the Baltic Sea cable. This would make Finland a decisive link in the network of global data transmission.”

Sources: Government of Finland, Tietoviikko

More of EU budget misspent in 2012 - auditors

Written by Tony Harkén on Monday, 11 November 2013. Posted in Germany, Articles of Germany, Right bottom - 8st, Main 5

The EU misspent 6.6bn euros (£5.5bn; $8.9bn) of its budget funds last year - an increase on the amount misspent in 2011, European auditors say.

Read the story

Down load the Report

Exporting corruption: Progress report 2013

Written by Cecilia Helland on Monday, 14 October 2013. Posted in Germany, Articles of Germany, Main 1, Main 5 - 3st

Transparency International’s ninth annual progress report on foreign bribery enforcement presents.

An independent assessment on the status of enforcement in all of the 40 Parties to the Convention, including Russia and Colombia, where the Convention entered into force in 2012 and 2013, respectively.

The OECD Working Group on Bribery also publishes data on enforcement by the Parties in its annual reports. Results of the two reports are basically similar – both indicate that in half of the countries there is little or no enforcement against foreign bribery and show that Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States have the most active enforcement.

View online

Air quality index of Europe's major cities

Written by Tony Harkén on Monday, 16 September 2013. Posted in Germany, Articles of Germany, Main 1, Main 5 - 3st

www.airqualitynow.eu, an interactive web service designed to display and compare air quality and developed as part of the European Union's ‘Common Information To European Air' (CITEAIR) project.

The data is taken from the ‘general background air quality index' and represents the minimum level of air quality experienced by a citizen in each of the above cities, the data represents an hourly index and is subject to change throughout the day.

The indices have five levels from ‘Very low' to ‘Very high' and are based upon the quantity of three major pollutants, PM10, NO2 and O3, and where data is available, will also take into account pollutants CO, PM2.5 and SO2. These pollutants are of major concern throughout Europe due to their various detrimental effects on health.

Visit www.airqualitynow.eu

'Switzerland is extremely entrepreneur-friendly'

Written by Tony Harkén on Monday, 10 June 2013. Posted in Germany, Articles of Germany, Left 1, Left 2 - 3st

After working for a large company, Swedish-born Ann Söderblom, 31, recently took the plunge from employee to entrepreneur.

Söderblom, who advises expats on how to start their own business, tells The Local why Switzerland is the perfect place to set up your own company.

Read Ann:s story here

44 percent of countries measured have identifiable terrorism risk in 2013

Written by Tony Harkén on Monday, 27 May 2013. Posted in Germany, Articles of Germany, Main 2, Main 5 - 3st

Aon Risk Solutions, the global risk management business of Aon plc (NYSE: AON), today released its 10th annual Terrorism and Political Violence Map to help companies assess risk levels of political violence and terrorism.

Produced in collaboration with global risk management consultancy The Risk Advisory Group plc, the 2013 Map is complimented by an online and interactive version providing clients a clear global and country level view on terrorism and political violence ratings.

Aon’s 2013 Terrorism and Political Violence Map points to a continued threat of a terrorist attack or political violence as 44 percent of countries measured have an identifiable risk of terrorist attacks. This trend is especially prevalent in African and the Northern African countries. Despite 19 countries showing improved terrorism and political violence ratings, including the U.K. and Germany, data and analysis reflected by the map suggest continued and growing awareness is needed for businesses looking to expand.

The three perils measured indicate the different forms of political violence most likely to be encountered by businesses:

• Terrorism and sabotage

• Strikes, riots, civil commotion and malicious damage to property

• Insurrection, revolution, rebellion, mutiny, coup d’etat, war and civil war.

Color-coded ratings of the 200 countries and territories measured act as a gauge for the overall intensity of the risk of terrorism and political violence to business in each country.

Neil Henderson, head of Aon Risk Solutions’ Crisis Management Terrorism team, said, “Terrorism is having an increasing impact on today’s global organizations and terrorist attacks are now regarded as a foreseeable risk. An attack not only on, but near an organisation’s premises can result in human casualties, property damage, business interruption, legal liability issues and long term damage to brand and reputation. The Aon Terrorism and Political Violence Map is one of a range of Aon tools that allow data and fact-based insight to support and advise companies in their efforts to be increasingly resilient in today’s quickly evolving and volatile environment. This insight allows our clients to plan overseas expansion or international growth.”

Henry Wilkinson, head of the Intelligence and Analysis practice at Risk Advisory, added, “The global economic crisis, shifting geopolitical balances and two years of unusually high levels of civil upheaval present challenges and opportunities for businesses looking to expand. North and West Africa and the Middle East stand out as regions of increasing risk. Civil wars in Libya and Syria in particular have contributed to violent risks in nearby countries. Egypt returns to the highest risk rating this year due to persistent civil tumult, political instability and terrorism. While Northern Europe has seen some improvements, evident in the U.K.’s improved rating, fiscal and economic pressures mean businesses in Southern European countries still face a higher level of risk associated with civil disruption."

The data shows:

- 11 upgrades (increased risk ratings), including Argentina, Egypt and Jordan.

- 19 downgrades (decreased risk ratings), including Germany, Italy and the U.K.

- 44 percent of countries measured have an identifiable threat of terrorism, with the worst affected being Afghanistan, India, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Somalia, Syria, Thailand and the Yemen.

- Europe has the most positive regional outlook, with 47 percent of the countries with lowered risk ratings this year. This reflects receding civil unrest associated with the financial and economic crises. Limited incidents of terrorism outside of Greece and Northern Ireland also accounted for lowered risk scores.

- Lingering after-effects of the Arab Spring on regional security and stability remain evident. The Middle East is the most unstable region, with 64 percent of its countries attaining high or severe risk ratings, reflecting terrorism, unrest and conflict risks.

- The Middle East and North Africa region witnessed the highest proportion of countries with a terrorism and sabotage peril, at 85 percent.

Methodology and resources

The map measures political violence and terrorism in 200 countries and territories to help companies assess the risk levels of exchange transfer, political violence and terrorism. Produced by Aon in collaboration with global risk management consultancy The Risk Advisory Group plc, the Aon Terrorism and Political Violence Map reflects data recorded by Terrorism Tracker*, Aon WorldAware* and an expert assessment of the security situation. Each country is assigned a threat level, starting at negligible, and rising through low, medium, high and severe.

Terrorism threat is defined as an assessment of the intent and capability for terrorist groups to stage attacks and the likelihood they will succeed.

The map can be accessed at www.aon.com/terrorismmap

Lilly moves its production from the Giessen factory in Germany

Written by Tony Harkén on Thursday, 16 May 2013. Posted in Germany, Articles of Germany, Main 2, Right bottom - 8st

The US pharmaceutical company Lilly has announced that its plant in Alcobendas (Madrid) will take over the production which hitherto was carried out at its factory in Giessen, Germany.

Thus, the facility at Alcobendas, from which medicinal products worth about EUR 1,870 million are exported to 113 countries, will not only maintain, but also increase its current levels of production and employment with additional investment, reports the company.

The plant will also be diversifying its activity by adding technology for injectables, as it takes over the packaging of parenteral products that currently takes place in Giessen.

According to the president of Lilly Spain, Javier Ellena, the company’s decision to choose Spain ahead of other options to take over the production from Giessen “is due to the excellent results obtained at the Alcobendas plant” as well as the support of the Minister of Health, Ana Mato.

German companies acquire factories in Finland

Written by Tony Harkén on Wednesday, 03 April 2013. Posted in Germany, Articles of Germany, Main 3, Main 6 - 3st

Acquisitions by Richter Industries and Surfactor are expected to boost turnover by EUR 50 million.

Two German family-owned companies, Richter Industries and Surfactor, have invested in Finnish factories and engineering expertise during the past year. The acquisitions are expected to bring the two companies about EUR 50 million in turnover in the coming years.

Richter Industries has acquired a factory which produces paper machine rolls and roll maintenance, from the Finnish company Mesera Yhtiöt. The factory is located in Kotka, south-eastern Finland. Richter Industries manufactures retail store fixtures, point-of-purchase displays, and display racks. According to Jari Hämäläinen, manager of the factory which is the acquisition will strengthen the order books of the factory.

Surfactor invests in machines and equipment

Last year the Finnish company Dynea Chemicals Oy sold its paper overlays business and assets in Kitee, eastern Finland, to Surfactor Finland Oy. Surfactor Finland Oy is an affiliated company of Surfactor Germany GmbH, a leading manufacturer of paper overlays for the plywood industry as well as the furniture, transport and construction industries.

According to Günther Martin, CEO of Surfactor, the company has invested in new machines and equipment at the Kitee plant, and also hired some more staff. The Kitee plant produces phenolic surface films and its turnover in 2011 was EUR 17 million. Surfactor Finland’s turnover was EUR 49 million in 2011 and it had 136 employees.

Phenolic surface films (PSF) are resin impregnated industrial overlays designed to improve the surface characteristics of wood-based panels, used by the concrete formwork, transportation, building construction and furniture industries.

Sources: Richter Industries

Europol identifies 3600 organised crime groups active in the EU

Written by Tony Harkén on Tuesday, 19 March 2013. Posted in Germany, Articles of Germany, Main 2, Main 5 - 3st

Europol report warns of a new breed of criminal groups exploiting the economic crisis and the internet.

In the most detailed study ever undertaken of its kind in the European law enforcement community Europol has identified an estimated 3,600 organised crime groups currently active in the EU.

Read more here

Is the End of the German Beer Industry Near?

Written by Tony Harkén on Monday, 14 January 2013. Posted in Germany, Articles of Germany, Main 1, Right bottom - 8st

Germany's beer industry is shrinking -- for a multitude of reasons.

The country is undergoing significant demographic changes characterized by a rapidly aging population and low fertility rate.

Moreover, the frequency of beer consumption is falling even as beer is viewed by some consumers as a low-end and high-calorie drink. Indeed, many Germans these days prefer wine to beer.

But the German beer industry is not disappearing, and some experts suggest a number of steps that can be taken to shore it up.

Read the full story - Is the End of the German Beer Industry Near?

The International Business Compass of the HWWI / Hamburg

Written by Tony Harkén on Wednesday, 09 January 2013. Posted in Germany, Articles of Germany, Main 1, Main 7 - 3st

The objective of this blog is to focus on both short-term and long-term perspectives for emerging markets.

An interesting publication in this context is the BDO International Business Compass (IBC), edited by the HWWI-institute in Hamburg (Hamburgisches WeltWirtschaftsInstitut).

The IBC is a composition of publicly available indicators – one a scale from 0 to 100, 100=best value – for 174 countries that reflect economic, political and social dimensions.

These 174 countries are divided into two groups, OECD countries and non-OECD countries. Summarized indicator results are given for the total index and its three subgroups with the economic, political and social dimensions – for all 174 countries. For the non-OECD countries (emerging economies), there is also an average benchmark for each continent.

The IBC ranking instrument serves – in line with its name – as an International Business Compass. Of course, I recommend comparing the results of the IBC with similar publications like the World Bank’s “Doing Business”. The more sophisticated ranking tables – with both microeconomic, macroeconomic, political and social dimensions – decision-makers in both SMEs and bigger companies have access to, the better the conditions for making well-analyzed corporate decisions, particularly concerning those with strategic dimensions.

Let’s exemplify the latest results from 2012 by looking at some Asian countries. This does not, of course, rule out that individual companies so far may have a different experience and preference for ranking.

BDI, South East and East Asia, in a sales perspective * (Japan excl.)

1

China

(7)

2

Taiwan

(3)

3

Hongkong

(2)

4

India

(4)

5

Singapore

(1)

6

Malaysia

(6)

7

Indonesia

(8)

8

Thailand

(5)

——————————
* In brackets from a production perspective. Source: BDO International Business Compass, by HWWI, Hamburg (editor Michael Bräuninger).

Let me add that the HWWI internationally also is known for its monthly commodity index. During 2012, the composed commodity index of the HWWI fell by around 1 percent. However, different subindices partly had quite volatile developments during the past year. Certain food prices rose strongly in 2012, other food commodities like coffee and sugar had declined markedly. Oil prices did not move very much in 2012 in a price average perspective – but substantially during the course of the last year. Industrial metals had quite a weak development until late summer. But expectations of Chinese fiscal injections – supporting particularly infrastructure – led to a recovery of several metal prices (aluminum, copper) since August/September.

Again, we can recognize what China increasingly means to many commodity prices.

 

Hubert Fromlet
Professor of International Economics

Autoliv Expands in Indonesia

Written by Tony Harkén on Thursday, 06 December 2012. Posted in Germany, Articles of Germany, Main 1, Main 7 - 3st

To meet its strong order intake in Asia, Autoliv Inc. – the global leader in automotive safety systems – has opened a new seatbelt plant in Cibitung near Jakarta, Indonesia.

The new plant will enable the Company to grow its sales in Indonesia from $12 million last year to $25 million by 2015 in already booked business and to $50 million when the plant will be fully utilized.

The plant will replace the Company's existing Indonesian plant and serve Toyota, Daihatsu and Nissan, Autoliv's main customers in Indonesia.

The new plant has a floor space of nearly 2,500 square meters (sqm) on a land plot of 11,000 sqm and, at the start, 170 employees. All of the employees will be transferred from Autolivs existing Indonesian plant. The capital expenditures for the new plant amount to $3 million.

Light vehicle production in Indonesia is expected to grow by more than 20% this year to almost one million vehicles. Indonesia with 240 million people is one of the fastest growing economies in Asia. Autoliv entered the Indonesian market in 2002.

Switzerland arming in preparation for European meltdown?

Written by Tony Harkén on Tuesday, 23 October 2012. Posted in Germany, Articles of Germany, Main 1, Main 5 - 3st

One of the world’s richest nations openly expressed concerns over the possible outcome of Europe’s continuing financial troubles, and is currently conducting army exercises against the possibility of riots along its borders.

Severe measures in several EU countries may increase instability and the national police and military is not equipped to handle a growing concern.        

"I will not rule out that we will need the army in the coming years,” Swiss Defense Minister Ueli Maurer said last Sunday

Read the entire article here:

3.000 Chinese chefs are working in Germany

Written by Tony Harkén on Friday, 19 October 2012. Posted in Germany, Articles of Germany, Main 1, Main 5 - 3st

Restaurants in Germany currently have 3.000 employees chefs from China and now Chinese health professionals will be recruited to the country with a rapidly aging population.

Germany currently has a shortage of health professionals and 21 percent of the population is over 65 years old, which will increase to 29 percent by 2030.

In order to work within the German healthcare sector employees must be able to speak German, which means that new recruits must engage in language training 8 months before the recruitment.

The German recruitment in China will be conducted together with a Chinese partner.

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