Financial Times – Philip Stafford / Amsterdam ousts London as Europe’s top share trading hub
- Amsterdam surpassed London as Europe’s largest share trading centre last month as the Netherlands scooped up business lost by the UK since Brexit.
- An average €9.2bn shares a day were traded on Euronext Amsterdam and the Dutch arms of CBOE Europe and Turquoise in January, a more than fourfold increase from December.
- The shift was prompted by a ban on EU-based financial institutions trading in London because Brussels has not recognised UK exchanges and trading venues as having the same supervisory status as its own.
- EU share trading could return to London as part of discussions between the UK and the bloc on financial services, analysts said. The two sides are keen to finalise a memorandum of understanding in March, although hopes in the City have faded that it will include any provisions on equivalence.
- The Guardian – Richard Partington / Half of UK exporters to EU are having Brexit difficulties, survey finds
- Euractiv / EU rejects most UK demands on Northern Ireland trade, concedes on steel
Bloomberg – Peter Martin, Saleha Mohsin, Nick Wadhams and Jenny Leonard / Biden, in call with Xi, talks of ‘unfair economic practices’
- Joe Biden, in his first conversation as president with the Chinese leader Xi Jinping, spoke of his concern about China’s “coercive and unfair economic practices” as well as human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region, according to a White House account of their telephone call.
- Biden also expressed misgivings about the country’s growing restrictions on political freedoms in Hong Kong and “increasingly assertive actions in the region, including toward Taiwan,” in the call, which took place Thursday morning Beijing time.
- Biden, who wished Xi a happy Lunar New Year, was “committed to pursuing practical, results-oriented engagements when it advances the interests of the American people and those of our allies,” the White House said.
- China’s official state news agency Xinhua, meanwhile, cited Xi as saying China and the U.S. should re-establish mechanisms for dialogue so that there would be an accurate understanding of each other’s policy intentions and to avoid misunderstanding and miscalculation.
- South China Morning Post – Wendy Wu, Sarah Zheng and Teddy Ng / US-China confrontation would be ‘disaster’, Xi tells Biden in first call
Politico – Wojciech Kosc / Polish media suspend reporting to protest a planned tax on advertising
- Polish independent media suspended news coverage and the web pages of the country’s leading news organizations were blank Wednesday morning to protest a new advertising tax that broadcasters and publishers say is aimed not at raising money but at undermining the freedom of the press.
- “This is simply extortion,” said an open letter to Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki signed by 43 media organizations that includes Poland’s largest newspaper and magazine publishers as well as its leading independent television networks.
- The government insists it’s a way to repair public finances strained by the pandemic, with the money going to health care and culture, and is an effort to force large international corporations to pay their fair share of taxes.
- “They are more or less copying the Hungarian approach — to diminish the viability of the independent media. They say the proceeds of the tax are for dealing with the pandemic but the money will just go to propaganda operations close to PiS,” a private media executive told POLITICO.
- Bloomberg – Marton Eder / Hungarian opposition radio pushed off air by court ruling
- Project Syndicate – Anya Schiffrin / How to save local news
Financial Times – Sam Fleming and Michael Peel / Ursula von der Leyen acknowledges errors in EU’s Covid vaccines strategy
- The European Commission president acknowledged mistakes in the EU’s coronavirus vaccine strategy, but warned that failing to pursue a collective approach could have torn the union apart by pitting big member states against smaller ones.
- Ursula von der Leyen told the European Parliament that the EU had been too late to approve some Covid-19 shots, too optimistic when it came to vaccine production capacity, and perhaps too confident that doses would be delivered on time.
- She added that “mistakes were made”, which she deeply regretted, when it came to the introduction of export restrictions that had adverse implications for Northern Ireland last month. The measures were rapidly withdrawn.
- But the commission chief urged the bloc to stick with its current strategy. “I cannot even imagine what would have happened if a handful of big member states had rushed to it and everyone else would have been left empty-handed, what it would have meant for our internal market and the unity of Europe,” she said in Brussels.
- Euronews / Von der Leyen defends EU vaccine strategy but admits ‘mistakes were made’ over Article 16
- Foreign Policy – Paul Hockenos / Is Germany making too much renewable energy?