HOW TO MAXIMIZE THE BENEFITS OF FTAs ?

Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) have proved to be one of the best ways to open up foreign markets for exporters. FTA partner countries provide each other favorable treatment on trade, investment, provision of services and trade facilitation as well as economic and technical cooperation. Exporters benefit from FTAs through preferential treatment and market access. They also enjoy cost savings from elimination or reduction of customs duties and from mutual recognition agreements, trade facilitating customs procedures and removal of onerous regulations.

PUBLIC POLICY ADVOCATES AND CONFLICTS OF INTEREST PREVENTION

Increasingly accountability and ethics are at the centre of governing agenda. Governments want to uphold the public trust to the highest standard and this responsibility falls uniquely on all public office holders. Conflict of interest law and post-employment code for public office holders is a critical component of accountable government.

CROATIAN UPDATE

Croatia’s economy will shrink for a second consecutive year in 2013, when it joins the European Union. In 2012 Croatia registered a negative growth (-2%) in GDP. Gross domestic product will contract 0.4 percent this year and return to “subdued” growth in 2014 with a 1 percent expansion.

BUSINESS ADVOCACY IN TRADE POLICY : A MUST FOR SUCCESSFUL EU FTAs

Business advocacy in trade policy is a special form of persuasive activity undertaken by business organisations (Chambers of Commerce, Industry Associations, or Individual Companies) which aim to influence trade-policy making and international trade negotiations. It is the planned and systematic effort to ensure that changes in trade policy are supportive of business development with the national/European and international economy.

EU's FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS: WHERE DO WE STAND?

Over the next two years, 90% of world demand will be generated outside the EU. That is why it is a key priority for the EU to open up more market opportunities for European business by negotiating new Free Trade Agreements with key countries. If the EU were to complete all its  current free trade talks , it would add 2.2% to the EU's GDP or €275 billion. In terms of employment, these agreements could generate 2.2 million new jobs or additional 1% of the EU total workforce.

SLOVENIA IN TROUBLE: THERE'S NO TIME TO WASTE

Slovenia’s banking problem is not overleveraging, but failing state banks. Unlike all other new eastern EU members, Slovenia never privatized its big banks. Four state banks have a market share of 80 percent. Now the three biggest of these banks (Novaja Ljubljanska Banka d.d., Nova Kreditna Banka Maribor d.d., and Abanka Vipa d.d.) are in trouble, each one having suffered large losses in the last three years. The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) assesses their bad loans at €7 billion.

FRANCE TO TIGHTEN RULES FOR INTEREST REPRESENTATIVES

Based on a report of the National Assembly of February 2013, several measures are being proposed. They include the following:

UNDERSTANDING THE ROOTCAUSE OF DISTRUST OF POLITICIANS AND GOVERNMENT

The distrust of politicians and government is strongly connected to how citizens feel about the overall state of their country. The discontent with the honesty of elected officials is a leading cause of distrust of government. Disillusionment with political leaders is essentially as important a factor in distrust of government as is criticism of the way government performs its duties.

THE LEGACY OF MARGARET THATCHER

The secret of Margaret Thatcher's success lies in a combination of qualities, which both saw her into leadership and were the essence of her period in power:

CODES OF CONDUCT FOR PARLIAMENTARIANS

Out of 25 countries, only eight (France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and the United Kingdom) have codes of conduct in place for Parliamentarians. Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland DO NOT have a code of conduct for Parliamentarians. In some countries, rules of procedures cover ethical issues (Denmark, Finland and Switzerland).

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