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Europe Lower On Us Impasse; Italy Rallies 1%

“We would somehow have to stand by our market, introduce protectionist measures,” Putin said last month. “We are saying this openly in advance. As if to underline the message, Russia has taken steps against Lithuania, an EU member state that currently holds the union’s presidency, imposing extra customs checks on Lithuanian trucks and heavy losses for Lithuania’s large trucking industry. And in the back of the minds of all the partnership countries is the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia, when Moscow made very clear its power over a former republic. TYMOSHENKO While Ukraine has not bowed to the threats and uses every opportunity to reiterate its commitment to the European bloc that four of its seven neighbours have already joined, it is not as if closer EU ties are an open-and-shut case. With nearly 46 million people and a $330 billion economy, Ukraine is easily the biggest prize among the eastern partnership states. But Europe cannot afford to compromise on justice and human rights solely to pull one country closer into its orbit, no matter how strategically important it may be. Ukraine has to carry out a range of judicial, electoral and business reforms to secure the association agreement, as well as finding a solution to the case of Yulia Tymoshenko, the former prime minister now imprisoned for abuse of power following a 2011 trial the EU said was based on selective justice. EU officials are satisfied with the progress made on reforms, and expect all of the ‘benchmarks’ to have been met by the Vilnius summit on November 28-29. But Tymoshenko is a much more intractable problem with no clear solution. Germany has said it wants the former prime minister, who is receiving treatment for back problems while under guard in hospital, released or at least allowed to travel abroad for treatment before it can back the association agreement. That position is broadly supported by Britain, France, the Netherlands and the Nordic countries, while several east European member states are more flexible on what the terms of any deal on Tymoshenko should be. For Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich it is a deeply emotive issue. There is an ingrained animosity between him and his former political rival and a fear, analysts say, of retaliation by her against him if she is set free. What’s more, Ukraine says it is not possible to release Tymoshenko unconditionally as it would violate the law, an argument officials in Brussels acknowledge has some truth.

GEORGE SOROS: Europe’s Nightmare Is Getting Worse, And Only Germany Can Make It Stop

Misconceptions have played a central role. I shall focus on them instead of presenting a comprehensive analysis. The design of the common currency had many flaws. Some of them were known at the time the euro was introduced. Everybody, for example, knew that it was an incomplete currency; it had a central bank, but it didn’t have a common treasury. Other defects were discovered only in the crisis. In retrospect the most important defect was that the euro exposed the government bonds of member countries to the risk of default. In a developed country with its own currency, the risk of default is absent because it can always print money. But by ceding that right to an independent central bank, the member-states put themselves in the position of third-world countries that borrow in a foreign currency. This fact was not recognized either by the markets or by the authorities prior to the crisis, testifying to the fallibility of both. When the euro was introduced, the authorities actually declared government bonds to be riskless. Commercial banks were not required to set aside any capital reserves against their holdings of government bonds and the European Central Bank (ECB) accepted all government bonds on equal terms at its discount window.

Demand Response in Europe

(Read More: Italian stocks rally on signs of Letta support ) Letta delivered a strong speech to the Italian Senate on why he should stay in office on Wednesday morning and warned lawmakers of a “fatal” risk to the country’s political and economic future in the vote of confidence for his coalition government. However, the political impasse in the U.S weighed heavily across Europe as the first partial government shutdown in 17 years entered its second day. The White House ordered federal departments to execute shutdown plans, leaving nearly 800,000 people out of work, after Democrats and Republicans failed to agree on a spending bill before Monday’s midnight deadline. It’s uncertain when the standoff could come to an end but the dispute raises concerns over the looming debt ceiling which has to be raised before October 17 if the government is to avoid a debt default. “Equities have started the day on a negative tack after U.S. politicians remain at loggerheads on a budget and large areas of the government close down. Despite Tuesday’s strength across global equities, Wednesday sees a reversal as the risk tone erodes, leaving a detrimental effect on stock markets,” Ishaq Siddiqi, a market strategist at ETX Capital, said in a morning note. In other news, the European Central Bank (ECB) kept its main interest rate unchanged at record low of 0.5 percent on Wednesday. Focus remains on whether the ECB will hint at the need for further long-term refinancing operations (LTRO) to help support the economy. In stocks news, Portugal Telecom rose to the top of the Euro Stoxx 600 with a gain of 8.8 percent after a press release announced that it was moving closer to a merger with three other firms. supermarket Tesco slipped 3.5 percent after reporting flat quarterly sales for its second quarter. Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s , the U.K.’s third-biggest grocer, met forecasts with a pick-up in quarterly sales but shares fell 0.97 percent on Wednesday.

September 30, 2013 10:55 AM PDT (Credit: Josh Miller/CNET) As you might expect, new research out today shows that Android is Europe’s favorite smartphone OS by a wide mile. But Windows Phone is turning into a serious contender. According to figures out Monday from researchers Kantar WorldPanel ComTech, Android featured on just over 70 percent of smartphones sold in the three months up to August across Europe’s five biggest markets: Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy. Equally unsurprisingly, iOS is in second position with 16 percent of the smartphone market in Europe — a year over year rise of around two percentage points for both operating systems. Windows Phone, meanwhile, continues to grow its share in the five countries, hitting 9.2 percent — around double its 5.1 percent share for the same period last year. The jump has been fueled by significant gains in the three major European markets: France, Germany, and Great Britain. In the latter, its share has risen from 4.5 percent a year ago to 12 percent today, while in Germany it’s grown from 3.8 percent to 8.8 percent — the first time it’s hit double-digit share in either country. In Germany, that puts Windows Phone only one percentage point behind iOS in market share. Related posts Apple revives in-store pickup for iPhone 5S “Windows Phone’s latest wave of growth is being driven by Nokia’s expansion into the low- and midrange market with the Lumia 520 and 620 handsets. These models are hitting the sweet spot with 16- to 24-year-olds and 35- to 49-year-olds, two key groups that look for a balance of price and functionality in their smartphone,” Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, said in a statement. And despite recent turbulence and a proposed $7.2 billion takeover by Microsoft, Nokia, Windows Phone’s main hardware champion, is growing its own market share across some of Europe’s biggest markets. (Nokia accounted for four in five of all Windows Phone device sales across the five markets.) For the three months to the end of August, Nokia bagged 7.8 percent of all smartphone sales, up from 6.9 percent a year ago, inching up on third-place Sony, whose share stands at 8.2 percent, a slight rise over a year ago. LG is also seeing something of a comeback, increasing its European share to 6.1 percent from 2.1 percent a year ago. Following its recent troubles , BlackBerry’s share has seen the biggest dip in Europe, falling from 5.8 percent of all smartphones sold in the five markets to 2.4 percent today.

Windows Phone gains ground in Europe

In particular, the EU’s 20-20-20 energy mandate is having a considerable impact, coupled with national regulatory requirements around carbon emissions, energy efficiency, and the adoption of intermittent renewables. Perhaps most interesting is that several geographic areas in Europe, including the United Kingdom, France, and Ireland, are planning to introduce a capacity market that will further facilitate the adoption of DR. The growing number of new entrants, especially aggregators, is another indicator that the market is increasingly becoming attractive to providers with DR capabilities. For example, KiWi Powers, RWE npower, Negawatt Business Solutions, and Entelios are relative newcomers as aggregators and energy management providers. At the same time, the major incumbents based in either the United States or Europe are taking steps to expand into the burgeoning European DR market. The increasing number of DR energy management vendors, plus a more favorable legislative structure, will be the key driving forces to fuel the adoption of DR. Navigant Research forecasts that annual spending on DR in Europe will grow from $139 million in 2013 to $777 million in 2020. This Navigant Research report analyzes the emerging DR market in Europe. The study provides an analysis of market drivers and inhibitors that influence adoption decisions and behavior related to DR, with a focus on the regulatory environment. Market forecasts of DR sites, participants, load curtailment, and spending, broken out by country or region, customer segment (residential, commercial, and industrial), and program type, focus on five geographic areas and extend through 2020. The report also examines the state of DR adoption by country or region in Europe, as well as the competitive landscape. Key Questions Addressed: What are the key drivers for growth in the European demand response (DR) market? What are some of the barriers for growth in the European DR market? Which customer segments offer the best opportunities for DR growth?

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