European economic sovereignty requires 3 major actions

Former French Minister and current Chairman of the National Assembly (AN)’s finance committee Eric Woerth and economist and Fondapol’s scientific council’s member Laurence Diazano wrote in the daily newspaper L’Opinion that “Europe must better defend its trade interests” against Donald Trump and “build an autonomous financial system” within ten years.

Taken between the United States and its “America First” policy and by China and its rising global power, Europe must build its economic sovereignty or otherwise risk having to systematically align with US interests. The next European Commission, said Woerth and Daziano, will have to lead three major actions.

First, build an autonomous financial system probably in collaboration with China. Then, have a European Monetary Fund in order to stabilize European and/or geographically close countries and increase its monetary clout in collaboration with the ECB. Finally, take advantage of the US trade withdrawal to gain market share, particularly in Asia.

Saudi Aramco, the largest IPO in history reportedly cancelled

According to sources from inside Saudi Arabia and others quoted by Reuters news agency, Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company and the kingdom’s largest company, has cancelled its very awaited IPO.

The Saudi authority suddenly halted the listing plan and disbanded advisors, said various sources and one stressed an economist named Barjas al-Barjas, a former adviser, has been arrested in the meantime. “Investors were always skeptical of Saudi Aramco’s USD 2 trillion price tag,” wrote Bloomberg which was still talking quite positively just a few days ago about the planned listing, like its main competitor CNBC.

However, in July 2018, Bloomberg reporters Javier Blas and Will Kennedy did point out that “likely investors doubt the value of the proposed public offering” and asked “how will Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) save face?” While many analysts emphasized the potential economic reasons behind this cancellation, Cyceon thinks political reasons shouldn’t be ruled out as well.

Indeed, Saudi Arabia is undergoing significant changes mostly decided by MBS and which seem to fuel some frictions inside the Saudi power circles. Although it’s too early for these reasons to be clearly identified and assessed, the sudden move after so much publicity may prove a negative development for Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and standing across the financial world.

Brussels is optimistic but Greece still has reason to doubt

After eight years of an economic and social crisis that seemed endless, the European Union (EU) authorities in Brussels have largely welcomed the exit of Greece from its third and last aid plan.

“The far-reaching reforms that Greece has achieved have laid the foundation for a sustainable recovery: it must be nurtured and maintained to enable the Greek people to reap the benefits of their efforts and sacrifices. Europe will continue to stand with Greece,” said EU Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici.

With forecasts of economic growth at 2% for 2018 and 2019, Greece enjoys a higher growth rate than major European economies such as France. Inside the country, Cyceon correspondents posted a much more moderate optimism, recalling that unemployment remains very high at 21.5% and that precariousness always strongly undermines the quality of life of all age groups, especially among young people and retirees.

Also, the massive sale of large parts of the public service to the private sector since 2011, the continued weight of the public debt at 191.1% against the GDP and the announcement of new austerity measures by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras are as many elements which greatly reduce the satisfaction expressed in Brussels.

According to Cyceon, the Greek political scene is not as stable as it seems, especially with the difficulties related to the migration crisis that could quickly resurface after the decision of Germany to return migrants to Greece.