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Things worth reading: the European View

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This month's view from Europe, courtesy of Edith Rigler :

Redefining the digital divide – Economist Intelligence Unit, 4 Nov 2013

Access to the Internet has greatly expanded, but multiple barriers hamper productive usage, according to a new report by the Economist Intelligence Unit.  Factors playing a role in the “digital divide” range from lack of affordability, to regulation, competition and lack of broadband access.  More on this story here.

The EU is seeking an end to the 2014 budget rowEU Business, 11 November 2013

EU ministers sought Monday to end a simmering 1.5-billion-euro row within EU institutions over the 2014 budget. While the 28 member states, the European Parliament, and the European Commission are split over next year's spending, ministers began compromise talks ahead of a Wednesday midnight deadline.

Fewer banks with fewer assets in euro area – European Central Bank, 4 Nov 2013

The number of banks in the 17-country eurozone has declined over the past five years and they significantly reduced their balance sheets, according to the ECB.By the end of 2012, banking sector assets in the euro area had dropped by almost 12 percent compared with 2008.The major part of the adjustment took place in 2009, as the financial crisis unfolded, the ECB said.

The UK in the Single Market: Opportunities and Challenges –  Michel Barnier, 17 Oct 2013 

In a recent speech, Michel Barnier, Comissioner for the Internal Market, reviewed the UK´s stance towards the EU. He pointed out the positive economic benefits of the EU and encouraged UK politicians to contribute to the EU: “you can’t reform a club if you have given in your membership card”.

The future of banks – have your say via an online forum  – European Commission, 7 October 2013

On 7 October the third round of live, interactive online debates – this time on banks - between citizens, businesses, organisations, and policy makers in the framework of  Single Market Month (see IP/13/847 and IP/13/882) has started. The online forum offers stakeholders a unique and immediate line of communication to Brussels policymakers. Throughout Single Market Month, the forum is hosting successive debates on four themes: jobs, social rights, banks, and e-commerce - in all 24 EU languages.

Help for SMEs and micro-enterprises to go digital – European Commission, 7 October 2013

The Commission is publishing a blueprint to help micro-enterprises and small businesses in Europe grow by using digital technologies. Web-connected small businesses across G-20 countries have 22% higher revenue growth than those with low or no web-use. Iinnovation vouchers worth up to €10,000 will be made available for purchasing and learning to make use of digital (ICT) services.

The new BCG report on “The $4.2 trillion opportunity. The internet economy in the G-20” can be found here.

Higher IT  budgets not adequate against growing cyber crime activity – PricewaterhouseCoopers, September 2013

Not only the NSA scandal but also increases in cyber crime activities have caused growing awareness about data security.  But a new study by PwC  (“Defending yesterday – Key findings from The Global State of Information Security® Survey 2014” ) points out that globally most organisations have developed defense meachanisms against threats of the past rather than preparing for weaknesses of tomorrow. Many corporates simply lack an explicit security policy.


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Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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