By Nina dos Santos, CNN
A grey day in Brussels provided an apt backdrop for addressing the bleak job prospects facing Europe’s younger generations.
With a quarter of their 16 to 25-year-olds out of work, youth unemployment has become one of the most pressing issues facing EU leaders today.
Among the potential solutions tabled was using the European Investment Bank as a mechanism for providing small businesses with loans, so they can hire.
Job and training guarantee schemes were also agreed by member states as well as a plan to roll out 6 billion euros ($7.8 billion) to the hardest hit countries like Greece and Spain where more than half of the young workforce is standing idle.
But the funds committed so far are a drop in the ocean compared to the size of the problem. FULL POST
Hong Kong (CNN) – The United States may be on the cusp of the cheapest stimulus package its citizens can imagine - in the form of a free trade agreement with the European Union across the Atlantic Ocean, according to Karel de Gucht, the EU’s trade commissioner.
But Mexico's candidate for the top job at the World Trade Organization said a deal between the two could pose problems in Geneva.
“The challenge that is posed by the negotiations between the EU and the US is enormous,” said Herminio Blanco.
“We think it's a no-brainer that the United States and Europe should be in negotiations to have a comprehensive, ambitious agenda to not only lower tariffs…but also to deal with regulatory issues, to deal with services,” said Myron Brilliant, senior vice president for international affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce to CNN’s Richard Quest.
Responding to Quest’s challenge that such an endeavor could not be achieved in “our lifetime”, Brilliant said he is mistaken.
“I'll tell you why you're wrong about that. The United States needs jobs. We have an OK economy. We've seen a resurgence in manufacturing. We've seen a potential for a reduction of energy prices, right? But we need a global economic agenda.”
In a lively exchange best watched in the video here or above, Brilliant said the biggest impediments to US-EU success for a free trade agreement - already valued at $5 billion - is regulatory.
Hong Kong (CNN) - For Renault-Nissan, relativity may help manage expectations for a 2013 already predicted to end in the red.
“The (automobile) market in Europe continues to decline and the contraction is even bigger than what we have foreseen,” said CEO Carlos Ghosn to CNN’s Richard Quest.
“Even with this very bad start to the year… we’re going to go from a very bad market to a bad market. Instead of having an 8% decline, we’re going to probably see something like (a) 3% to 5% decline for the year.”
The Brazilian-born auto chief made the forecast at the 2013 Geneva Auto Show. The annual event opens to the public Thursday.
European governments can help automakers, Ghosn added, by bringing predictability to the economy and “eliminating uncertainty”.
“One of the reasons consumers are not buying cars or other goods is because they are uncertain about the future.”
As head of Japan’s Nissan Motor Company since 1999, Ghosn said he hopes the country’s new government of Shinzo Abe will bring the currency to a “historic level” of 110 to the dollar.
Since October 1, the yen has already risen nearly 20% and currently hovers near 93 yen to the dollar thanks to Abe's promises for a weaker yen, looser monetary policy and pledges of fiscal stimulus.
“Finally we have a government which has a vision and trying to do something about deflation (in) Japan.”
(CNN) - This week the European Union Chamber of Commerce released this survey on Chinese investor perceptions of Europe.
The study, which drew responses from 74 Chinese enterprises that have already invested in the EU, found that a full 97% would make future investments in the region; however 78% of those surveyed said they faced operational difficulties, mostly related to bureaucracy and high costs.
Pauline Chiou, CNN’s World Business Today anchor, spoke with Davide Cucino for his own reflections on the survey. The President of the European Union Chamber of Commerce said a transparent regulatory framework, good opportunities for merger and acquisition operations and a large market of 500 million potential consumers makes Europe an “ideal place to do business”.
While China demands more than a 50% stake in any Western company that sets up operations in Asia’s largest economy, the EU’s Cucino says the business environment of Europe will be “resiliently open”.
(CNN) – The 2013 forecast for European economic growth has turned into a prediction for decay. The European Central Bank on Thursday flipped next year's gross domestic product forecast from growth of 0.3% to a fall of 0.9% next year.
Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, told CNN's Richard Quest he fears Europe's growth problem will last more than just one year.
"This is a decade of slow growth. We are halfway through it. Hopefully we are halfway through it," says Sorrell. "And there's going to be another three, four, five years of tough stuff until we get out of it around 2017, 2018."
(CNN) - A new survey shows one in five Spaniards want to quit the euro and return to the peseta.
Spain's "El Pais" newspaper published a poll from Metroscopia Sunday that found 21% want to leave the euro currency, which Spain abandoned a decade ago to join the eurozone.
The poll also found that 72% of those polled believed the Spain, the eurozone’s fourth largest economy, would need a full bailout from the European Union, up from 62% a month ago, Reuters reported.
Ten months into his eight-year term, the man hailed as ‘’Super Mario’’ is facing his biggest test yet.
And though the outcome of the European Central Bank’s latest meeting is by no means a given, what’s sure is his words will resonate far from the region’s shores.
Now into its third year and counting, the single currency’s funding crunch has claimed the scalps of three eurozone countries so far and threatens to engulf others which are ‘too big to bail’ but too big to fail.
What started as a financial crisis has morphed into an existential one and left ECB President Mario Draghi to fill the vacuum of leadership left by the eurozone’s squabbling politicians.
While the ECB will formally be contemplating its interest rate policy on Thursday, Draghi’s most pressing task will be far less mundane: instead investors are relying on him to keep the next troubled members solvent, even if that means creating an artificial market for their debt.
London (CNN) – Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has lit a fuse that has sparked outrage in Germany and exposed the frayed wires that are holding Europe together.
In an interview with Germany’s Der Spiegel, Monti was quoted as saying: "The tensions that have accompanied the eurozone in the past years are already showing signs of a psychological dissolution of Europe."
He added that governments have to "educate" their parliaments as they try to reach agreement on the eurozone's future.
"If governments allow themselves to be entirely bound to the decisions of their parliament, without protecting their own freedom to act, a break up of Europe would be a more probable outcome than deeper integration."
(CNN) – There was lively debate among Business 360 readers on question posed by Friday’s post China slowdown bigger worry than eurozone?
The heart of Friday’s post was the conversation CNN’s Richard Quest had with Jim O’Neill, chairman of asset management for Goldman Sachs, that the slowdown of developing economies such as China was more worrisome than the eurozone crisis.
Many of the dozens of comments from Business 360 readers can be summed up in two words: What slowdown?
Jon B: “I'm an American and I've been living in China for 5 years. Yes, businesses are hurting and prices are rising, but China's people are only getting richer. Their economy is doing just fine for right now. Maybe within the next five to 10 years China will resemble the U.S. and its current struggle, but for now they are full steam ahead. There aren't many icebergs big enough to cripple this boat just yet.”
Hong Kong (CNN) – Will China’s economy have a hard landing, soft touchdown or slow ascension?
The lack of strong action Thursday from the European Central Bank on Europe’s spiraling debt crisis – coupled with similar inaction from the U.S. Federal Reserve on the slowing U.S. economy earlier this week – has ratcheted global investor stress on how China will handle its own slowdown.
The question percolated throughout interviews on CNN International business shows this week.
“It is quite disturbing that Brazil and India have slowed down so much, obviously there’s this huge debate going on about China’s slowdown,” Jim O’Neill, chairman of asset management for Goldman Sachs, told Richard Quest when he argued the slowdown in developing behemoths like China and the rest of the BRIC bloc is more worrisome than the eurozone crisis.
Investor Mark Mobius, head of Templeton Emerging Markets Group, disagreed.
"A lot of people ask me if China is going to have a hard or soft landing," Mobius said. "And I say they are not landing. They're continuing to grow and they're growing at a pretty fast pace."
Still, the signs of a China slowdown are many. Inventories in factories are piling up, and companies ranging from electronics, airlines and sportswear have issued profit warnings.
“While the world fixates on what the Fed and the ECB have up their collective sleeves to stem the sovereign debt contagion and to spur growth, it appears to me that the policy prescriptions might need to include China,” wrote Mike Paulenoff of MPTrader.com. “As in, how to avert a hard landing?”
So, hard days ahead for China? Will its economy touch down gently, or is it likely to trampoline – with help from Beijing – like it did in the wake of the 2008-2009 financial crisis?
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About Business 360
CNN International's business anchors and correspondents get to grips with the issues affecting world business, and they want your questions and feedback.