Sanctions: most exposed banking systems to Russia

Straight from Zerohedge via Bloomberg Briefs, this chart explains which countries are most exposed to systemic risk in Russia.FCA - Zerohedge

US and European financials faded notably after Europe and then US unveiled new sanctions against Russia today. Most notably, the decision to sanction Russia’s largest banks (and ban trading and capital markets access) has ramifications for the global financial system‘s stability given the increasingly inter-connected nature of the world. For that reason, we thought Bloomberg Briefs’ chart of the most exposed banking systems by nation to any systemic issues in Russia would be useful.


As Maxime Sbaihi reports,

About 74 percent of foreign banks’ claims on Russia originated from Europe in the first quarter, according to the Bank for International Settlements.

French banks had the most claims ($47 billion), followed by the U.S. ($27 billion) and Italy ($26 billion).

Italian banks appeared to be the most exposed in the percentage of the country’s total foreign claims, of those reporting data.

Source: Bloomberg Briefs

*  *  *

With Europe set to wake up to Portugal banking system imploding after BES headlines late today, we are sure Italy’s and France’s banks can handle the additional risk-off…

Reproduced from ZeroHedge


US hits 7 Ukraine rebels with sanctions

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration imposed sanctions Friday on several pro-Russian separatist leaders in Ukraine, including self-proclaimed rebel mayors, governors and commanders in chief of cities under siege, for refusing to cede to the central government in Kiev. The sanctions came as U.S. officials renewed accusations that Russia is providing the separatists with tanks and heavy weaponry and as Ukraine’s president announced a unilateral ceasefire that Washington urged Moscow to support.

The penalties on seven separatists were intended as a signal that the U.S. will continue to punish those it holds responsible for instability in Ukraine and that the West was still prepared to slap tougher sanctions on Russia’s economic sectors to punish it for stoking unrest in Ukraine should Moscow not take steps to de-escalate the crisis, the officials said.

The White House and State Department welcomed Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s ceasefire announcement even as they denounced Russia for supplying separatists with military gear. White House spokesman Josh Earnest called reports of a new Russian military buildup near the Ukraine border “troubling” and dismissed explanations from the Kremlin that the movement of security forces is related to border security.

“We will not accept any use of Russian military forces, under any pretext, in eastern Ukraine,” Earnest said. He also slammed Russian officials for making what he said were false claims about the Ukrainian government being responsible for poor human rights conditions in eastern Ukraine.

“We see these statements for what they are: an attempt to create pretext for further illegal Russia intervention in Ukraine,” he said. “In fact, responsibility for the deterioration in the human rights situation in Ukraine lies with the armed separatists who are targeting the population, and their backers in Russia.”

President Barack Obama spoke by phone Friday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has been a key interlocutor with Russian President Vladimir, and separately with French President Francois Hollande. The White House said the leaders all praised Poroshenko’s ceasefire, and agreed that Russia’s failure to take immediate steps to calm tensions would result in further penalties from the U.S. and the European Union – a threat the West has been making for months.

Washington last week accused Russia of sending three tanks and several rocket launchers to the separatists and, at the State Department on Friday, spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the U.S. believes Russia is preparing to send in more tanks and artillery from a site in southwest Russia.

“We have information that additional tanks have been prepared for departure from this same deployment site,” she said. “We also have information that Russia has accumulated artillery at a deployment site in southwest Russia, including a type of artillery utilized by Ukrainian forces but no longer in Russia’s active forces and believe Russia may soon provide this equipment to separatist fighters.”

Psaki would not say if the provision of the equipment to the separatists would be a trigger for additional sanctions.

Since Russia annexed Ukraine’s strategic Crimean peninsula in March, the U.S. has imposed sanctions against 71 individuals and entities, including in Russia, for their actions to destabilize Ukraine. The European Union has taken similar steps and next week, U.S. and EU officials will be discussing the possibility of wider sanctions at a series of meetings.

The sanctions imposed on Friday freeze any assets that the seven separatists have in the United States, and prohibit any American firms or businesses from dealing with them. It is a relatively limited slap against the separatists themselves but showed that the U.S. is ready to move forward with more if tensions ratchet back up.

In a statement, the Treasury Department said the sanctions penalize separatist leaders, including Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, who dubbed himself the “people’s mayor” of the eastern Ukraine city of Slovyansk after leading a group who overtook the local government there in early April; his colleague Igor Girkin, the self-described “commander in chief of the Donetsk People’s Republic” in the same town; and Valery Kaurov, who calls himself the “president of Novorossiya.”

Officials said Kaurov has asked Putin to deploy troops to Novorossiya, which translates to New Russia and is a pro-Russian term for a region in southeast Ukraine.

Last month, in an apparent attempt to ease tensions, Putin had pulled back many of his estimated 40,000 Russian troops massed along the border. They appear to have returned over the last week – even as Putin and newly elected Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko discuss Poroshenko’s plan for a unilateral cease-fire and as Putin says he is resisting rebels’ calls for help.

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Source: AP

Sanctions: Russia may retaliate for Australian sanctions – newspaper

Moscow – Russia could respond to travel bans and asset freezes recently imposed by Australia on a number of Russian officials by introducing its own sanctions against Australia, the Izvestia newspaper reported on Friday, citing the Russian president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov.

“The mutuality principle remains valid for these matters,” Peskov told the newspaper.

The latest developments should not affect Russia’s work within the G20, he said.

This autumn, the Australian city of Brisbane is expected to host a G20 summit, to be preceded by a G20 business summit there in July, an event in which representatives of Russian companies usually take part, the newspaper said.

However, Russia has not yet received confirmation of the latest sanctions from the Australian authorities, Peskov said.

“As for the extent of their effect on participation in international formats, I do not think that there is clarity in these issues today,” he said.

A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, for his part, confirmed in an interview with Izvestia that similar measures could be taken in relation to Australia in response to its sanctions, which were announced by the Australian Foreign Ministry on June 19, according to the newspaper.

The Australian authorities imposed travel bans and asset freezes on 50 Russian citizens and 11 companies that, the Australian government believes, are involved in “the threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” Izvestia said.

Australia’s sanctions list includes Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin, Russian presidential chief-of-staff Sergei Ivanov, his two first deputies Vyacheslav Volodin and Alexei Gromov, Deputy Prime Ministers Dmitry Rogozin and Dmitry Kozak, presidential aides Vladislav Surkov, Vladimir Kozhin and Andrei Fursenko, presidential adviser Sergei Glaziyev, as well as Russian MPs Yelena Mizulina and Alexei Pushkov.

These sanctions also apply to the leadership of Crimea, as well as businessmen Yury Kovalchuk, Arkady Rotenberg, Boris Rotenberg and Gennady Timchenko, according to Izvestia.

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Source: Kyiv Post

Diamonds: Diamond trade eyes direct tie-ups with Russia as threat of US sanctions looms over Moscow

Supply of roughs from Russia to Dubai and Belgium could be severely impacted if the US imposes economic sanctions on Russia, say exporters.

Currently, the industry buys roughs, produced mostly in Russia, from Dubai and Belgium. Last year, Alrosa produced 36.9 million carats of rough. India imported 163.11 million carats of roughs worth $16.34 billion, and exported 36.46 million carats of polished diamonds worth $20.23 billion in 2013.

Imports of roughs

However, direct imports of rough diamonds from Russia to India are modest at about $767 million. India’s exports of gems and jewellery during the calendar year 2013 stood at $36.04 billion.

Alrosa accounts for close to 25 per cent of the world rough diamond output. An estimated 14 out of 15 polished diamonds studded in jewellery globally, are cut and polished in India.

The gem and jewellery industry feels that direct supplies of rough diamonds could boost trade between both countries to $5 billion.

Vipul Shah, Chairman, Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council, said that apart from the fear of sanctions, it was in India’s interest to source diamonds directly from Russia.

In fact, he added, Russia is also exploring the possibility of selling roughs directly to China and Dubai, and has signed agreements to explore the possibility. Procedural matters are all that is standing between the two countries, which would sharply increase trade in polished diamonds between the two countries, he said. The gem and jewellery industry has urged the Government to set up notified zones to facilitate global miners such as De Beers, Rio Tinto, Alrosa and others to bring in roughs for auction in India.

Special trade zone

Though roughs can be imported and exported duty-free, miners are reluctant to set up base in India, or trade with India directly due to the country’s complex tax structure.

They prefer to sell roughs to India through other major trading centres such as Belgium, Antwerp and Dubai, said Shah. The GJEPC has suggested that the Government set up a special trading zone at the Bharat Diamond Bourse in Mumbai, and replicate the same in Surat at a later stage.

(This article was published on June 22, 2014)

Source: The Hindu Business Line

India: Centre gets tough on terror funds

The new BJP government is set to crack down on terror financing from across the border, holding it as one of the key steps towards beefing up the internal security mechanisms in view of impending terror threats from cross-border as well as home-grown terror outfits.

For the first time since the new government has taken charge, India has had its first detailed discussion in the multi-lateral forum over terror-financing.

Notably, India has sought cooperation of member countries to crack the financial network and fund-raising activities of Pakistan-based terror outfits and individual terrorists associated with these organisations.

The move is expected to get a boost during the fresh round of meetings where India will be assuming the chairmanship of the Eurasia Group of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the premier global Task Force on Counter-terror Funding Operations.

A delegation from the MHA was in Russia last week on the first leg of a two-legged tour of Russia and Europe over the issue of terror-finances.

Notably, new national security adviser Ajit Doval has regularly spoken tough on the issue of countering terror financing and the security agencies have been asked to crack down on such activities to bolster the counter-terror efforts, sources said. Combating money laundering an terror financing have remained key challenges for the security establishment in the last few years.

India has told the multilateral forum that its own customs and border guarding agencies have found that the largest source from where fake Indian currency notes are pushed into the country is Pakistan. It has also raised key concerns about extensive flow of hawala funds coming in from abroad for terrorist outfits, even as cross-border fund transfers are taking place for tax frauds.

Source: Asian Age

Justice for Sergei Magnitsky: US adds 12 names to sanctions list

In yet another wave of sanctions against Russians. the US is now targeting 12 people it has linked to the death of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian accountant and whistle-blower.

Sergei Magnitsky, 1972-2009

Sergei Magnitsky, 1972-2009

Magnitsky alleged there had been a large-scale theft from the Russian state sanctioned and carried out by Russian officials. The investigation into his claims was led by the people who he accused of theft and soon after it began, they found a reason to arrest and jail Magnitsky. He  died in prison seven days before the expiration of the one-year term during which he could be legally held without trial.

A Kremlin led human rights probe found that Magnitksy had been beaten severely before he died. This film about his life and harrowing death goes into more detail.

In response to the attack and abuse of power, the US adopted the Magnitsky Bill, which prevents anyone connected to his death from entering the US or using its banking system. It has added 12 new names to the Specially Designated Nationals List:

  • ALISOV, Igor Borisovich; DOB 11 Mar 1968 (individual) [MAGNIT].
  • GAUS, Alexandra Viktorovna (a.k.a. GAUSS, Alexandra); DOB 29 Mar 1975 (individual) [MAGNIT].
  • KHLEBNIKOV, Vyacheslav Georgievich (a.k.a. KHLEBNIKOV, Viacheslav); DOB 09 Jul 1967 (individual) [MAGNIT].
  • KLYUEV, Dmitry Vladislavovich (a.k.a. KLYUYEV, Dmitriy); DOB 10 Aug 1967 (individual) [MAGNIT].
  • KRATOV, Dmitry Borisovich; DOB 16 Jul 1964 (individual) [MAGNIT].
  • KRECHETOV, Andrei Alexandrovich; DOB 22 Sep 1981 (individual) [MAGNIT].
  • LITVINOVA, Larisa Anatolievna; DOB 18 Nov 1963 (individual) [MAGNIT].
  • MARKELOV, Viktor Aleksandrovich; DOB 15 Dec 1967; POB Leninskoye village, Uzgenskiy District, Oshkaya region of the Kirghiz SSR (individual) [MAGNIT].
  • STEPANOV, Vladlen Yurievich; DOB 17 Jul 1962 (individual) [MAGNIT].
  • SUGAIPOV, Umar; DOB 17 Apr 1966; POB Chechen Republic, Russia (individual) [MAGNIT].
  • TAGIYEV, Fikret (a.k.a. TAGIEV, Fikhret Gabdulla Ogly; a.k.a. TAGIYEV, Fikhret); DOB 03 Apr 1962 (individual) [MAGNIT].
  • VAKHAYEV, Musa; DOB 1964; POB Urus-Martan, Chechen Republic, Russia (individual) [MAGNIT].


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Russian oligarchs hiding wealth in Western havens

FCA - Man Suit Tax Haven

A truism, but one worth exploring further. Russia’s oligarchs and massive state structures are making use of the tax havens created by the west to keep their money and their deals away from prying eyes. Laughably, the prying eyes now belong to the western governments who allowed these secrecy havens to flourish in the first place. The UK government has courted Russian billionaires in the very recent past, keen to secure the glamour and faux prestige of playing home to the world’s obscenely wealthy. It didn’t seem to mind that their money was all offshore. Things look a bit different since the US is encouraging allies to impose tough economic sanctions on some of the same oligarchs and their businesses. The opaque veils of secrecy shrouding offshore funds are doing their job very well – stopping anyone from seeing the people behind the money.

This in-depth article by the 100 Reporters project looks into the role of western ‘enablers’.




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Russia inks oil deal with China; so those US sanctions are starting to pinch, eh?

Putin snubs Western sanctions in huge gas deal with China, reads the Reuters headline from Wednesday 21st May. Did anyone really expect Russia to stand around idle and allow the west to stem its growth? If this deal is anything to go by, we can expect Putin and the Russian government to sidestep trade restrictions deftly during the coming months. The US has voiced plans to impose trade or sectoral sanctions on Russia if it meddles with the Ukraine’s interim elections on May 25th. Russia has inked one significant long term deal with its ally on the UN Security Council, securing both nations’ energy and revenue for years to come.

Putin snubs Western sanctions in huge gas deal with China

SHANGHAI: China and Russia Wednesday signed a gas supply deal thought to be worth billions of dollars, securing a major source of cleaner fuel for the world’s top energy user and opening up a new market for Moscow as it risks losing European customers over the Ukraine crisis.

China's President Xi Jinping (2nd R) looks at Russia's President Vladimir Putin (2nd L) shaking hands with Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller (L) at an agreement signing ceremony in Shanghai on May 21, 2014. (AFP PHOTO / RIA-NOVOSTI / POOL ALEXEY DRUZHININ)

China’s President Xi Jinping (2nd R) looks at Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (2nd L) shaking hands with Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller (L) at an agreement signing ceremony in Shanghai on May 21, 2014. (AFP PHOTO / RIA-NOVOSTI / POOL ALEXEY DRUZHININ)

The long-awaited agreement is a political triumph for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is courting partners in Asia as those in Europe and the United States seek to isolate him over Moscow’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula.

Commercially, much depends on the price and other terms of the contract, which has been more than a decade in the making. China had the upper hand as negotiations entered their final phase, aware of Putin’s faceoff with the West.

“This is the biggest contract in the history of the gas sector of the former USSR,” Putin said after the agreement was signed in Shanghai between state-controlled entities Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corp.

“Our Chinese friends are difficult, hard negotiators,” he said, noting that talks went on until 4 a.m.

“Through mutual compromise we managed to reach not only acceptable, but rather satisfactory, terms on this contract for both sides.”

Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping applauded as they witnessed the deal being signed, just hours before the Russian leader was due to leave Shanghai at the end of a two-day visit.

The deal came ahead of a major economic summit in the northern Russian city of St. Petersburg, starting Thursday. Around a dozen chief executives and chairmen of major U.S. and European corporations have withdrawn from the forum over the Ukraine crisis.

Putin loyalist and senior parliamentarian Alexey Pushkov, who was included on a U.S. list of individuals sanctioned in the wake of the crisis in Ukraine, said the gas deal showed Russia could not be isolated.

“B. Obama should abandon the policy of isolating Russia: It will not work,” he tweeted, referring to U.S. President Barack Obama, who has pushed for greater Western punishment of Russia.

Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller declined to disclose the price at which the deal was struck, but sources at the companies involved said Gazprom refused to go below $350 per thousand cubic meters.

That compares to a price range of $350-$380 that most European utilities pay under discounted long-term contracts signed in the last two years. Putin said the formula was similar to the European price tied to the market value of oil and oil products.

Crucially for China, the implied price is below the Asian cost of importing liquefied natural gas, an alternative energy source that it is currently developing.

Another potential sticking point in talks was whether China would pay a lump sum up front to fund considerable infrastructure costs.

According to Putin, China will provide $20 billion for gas development and infrastructure, but Miller said the two sides were still in talks over any advance.

The gas will be transported along a new pipeline linking Siberian gas fields to China’s main consumption centers near its coast. Russia will begin delivering from 2018, building up gradually to 38 billion cubic meters a year, officials said.

Russia plans to invest $55 billion in exploration and pipeline construction up to China, and CNPC said it would build the Chinese section of the pipeline.

The contract does not necessarily mean that Russia is giving up on Europe. Last year, Gazprom supplied Western Europe and Turkey with over 160 bcm of gas, dwarfing intended deliveries to China. Meanwhile, European consumers could not easily switch from Russian gas, even if they wanted to.

Beyond supplying China with gas via a pipeline, the deal opens up an opportunity for Gazprom to become a bigger player in the booming Asian LNG market, a sector it has so far not been involved in on a major scale.

Gazprom is planning to build a new LNG plant on the Russian Pacific coast near Vladivostok, but has so far lacked the infrastructure to supply the facility with the amount of gas necessary to meet regional demand.

The new pipeline would change this, ideally positioning Gazprom’s Vladivostok terminal close to the leading LNG buyers of Japan and South Korea as well as the rising market on China’s eastern coast.

Gordon Kwan, head of Asian oil research at Nomura, said that although details of the agreement were sketchy, they were likely to have been favorable to China.

“Given the EU sanctions that could potentially hit Russia, I don’t think Gazprom is in a position to strike a very high price,” he said.

He added that CNPC would be driving a hard bargain in the wake of a corruption investigation that rocked the company last year, as Xi seeks to stamp out broader graft.

Shares in Gazprom rose by nearly 2 percent after the deal was announced, and were up 1.3 percent at 13:20 GMT.

 A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on May 22, 2014, on page 1.

Source: The Daily Star Lebanon


Sanctions: Heavy industry first to call damage by Russia sanctions

Heavy industry giants look like the first entities to claim they will be damaged by sanctions against Russia. Multi-billion dollar steel producer Arcelor Mittal has reportedly opposed the EU’s Russia sanctions outright; not because its own business will be affected, but because of the damage sanctions could do to European Union. ‘Sanctions do not ‘bring us forward’, a spokesman told Reuters.

Back in April, before the EU issued its latest round of sanctions, oil giants BP, Exxon and Total were already considering the damage that sectoral sanctions on energy might do to them. A story in the Telegraph mentioned that the US leadership was ‘aiming to ring-fence BP, Shell and France’s Total, among others, from collateral damage or retaliatory action.’

So called effective sanctions on Russia, ie those that would damage Russia more than they would damage the US and Europe, would specifically target new oil and gas projects, leaving existing fields to keep producing and keep the dollars rolling in, damage Moscow’s long term goals of being a bigger energy provider and maintain energy security in Europe.

For those with a subscription, there is an interesting piece in the WSJ on how sanctions are making life awkward for BP and Total in Russia. “To ensure access to Russia’s vast reserves—and avoid political tangles that can ensnare companies in the country that don’t have Kremlin connections—big Western oil companies including BP, Total SA and Exxon Mobil Corp. have allied themselves with loyalists of Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

Some of the Putin loyalists and his closest allies and organisations they represent  have ended up on sanctions lists. Igor Sechin, a former government official and a close ally of Putin is the Executive Chairman of Rosneft, the state oil company, was added to the list in April. Several companies connected to Gennady Timchenko, Putin’s former Judo partner, are on the US list. Timchenko himself was added to the list in March.

The financial services industry is one of Europe’s greatest assets? Brussels, we have a problem

Last week, the European Commission (EC) slapped itself on the back a few times, with a congratulatory speech about all the things it has done since 2008 to repair the FCA - Bolting horseimmense damage done to the economy by the financial services industry. EC President José Manuel Barroso claimed the financial services industry as one of Europe’s greatest assets as well a listing various achievements including the banker bonus cap, increasing reserves, scrutinising hedge funds, rating agencies, and improving consumer protection.

My initial thought was something about horses running amok in meadow and Barroso and his pals carefully closing the gate. But then, credit where it is due, some action on behalf of the EC is better than nothing done to rebalance the inequalities exploited by the  financial services sector which allowed institutions and individuals to pay themselves ridiculous bonuses, make opaque trades and leave consumers exposed to the risks of actions taken by others.

The bonus cap confusion

Back in March, when the EC announced its plans to curb the excessive bonuses paid to certain employees of the banking industry, the UK released its strategy for getting around the rule. The EC rule limits a bonus to no more than the fixed salary, or twice that level if approved by the bank’s shareholders, and will affect 2014 awards to be handed out early next year. In response to the new law HSBC, the world’s local money launderer, announced  that it will give new “allowances” – expected to take the form of monthly or quarterly payments in cash or shares – to senior staff to boost their fixed pay, meaning that higher bonuses could then be awarded.  The same bank has, however, opted to cut its Chairman’s proposed GBP3.25m  bonus to a measly GBP1m. UK institutions Lloyds and Barclays indicated they would also seek a way around the bonus cap. The UK Government opted to fight the EU’s bonus cap in court and started a legal challenge against the EU, which it lost.

While the UK government sent a strongly worded letter to banks in April, warning them to cut bonuses or face tighter controls, banks have retaliated with a complaint that they will lose their competitive edge in the search for talent and fear the best candidates might all take jobs in the US instead. At least the UK managed to show some mettle and stop the 200 per cent bonuses that RBS – now owned by the UK government since its spectacular bail out in 2008 and 2009 – had scheduled to pay some employees.

Other great assets of Europe

Here is a list of some other great European assets, at least in my opinion. Would you agree?

The Eurovision Song Contest 

Conchita Wurst

Conchita Wurst

The annual paean to the much maligned European pop-song which unites the world for one night a year in awe of this astounding show, and the ever more outlandish performers. Congratulations to Conchita Wurst, the Austrian bearded drag act who won 2014’s content. Her ‘Rise Like a Phoenix’ is no ‘Waterloo’ but the public vote for a champion of tolerance was one in the eye for the countries who have decided to outlaw and punish anything that falls out of the boundaries of heterosexual acts for procreation. I am looking at you India, Nigeria, Russia, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Uganda, for starters.  Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen have made homosexuality punishable by death.



The European Southern Observatory, Chile.FCA - Biggest star ever

Since five European countries signed the ESO convention in 1962, researchers have discovered that the universe is expanding and accelerating as it gets bigger, earning Nobel Physics Prizes for the lead discoverers. They have discovered an Earth sized planet in the star system next door, made the first accurate measurements of the planet Pluto and its moon Charon and found the biggest star ever, see image right.


FCA - Eurotrash logo

The sadly missed late-night satirical magazine show presented by Antoine de Caunes and Jean-Paul Gaultier, hamming up the French accent for ze British viewerz. The show shed light on some less well known aspects of European life, generally making a mockery of the entire system and reminding us not to take it all so seriously. The term Eurotrash has been used to describe those perceived to be ‘arrogant, lower-class, expatriates’ living in New York. NSFW in the slightest.


Skocjan Caves

Skocjan Caves

The Eisriesenwelt (German for “World of the Ice Giants”) in Austria is largest ice cave in the world, extending more than 42km (26 miles). The Skocjan cave system in Slovenia includes the highest cave hall in Europe. Or what about the cave paintings at Lascaux in France, a humble message to the future sent by human beings more than 17,000 years ago.

CERN – the European Centre for Nuclear Research

The Big Bang?

The Big Bang?

Where to begin? The biggest particle physics lab in the world has worked continuously to solve some of the biggest mysteries of the universe. On the way, its researchers invented the world wide web in 1989, created stable atoms of antimatter in 2010 and brought us closer to understanding our existence by discovering the Higgs boson in 2013 resulting in Nobel Prizes for the lead researchers. CERN is 60 this year, celebrating  science for peace is its anniversary strap line.

Honourable mention for achievements in the European Financial Services Sector

The EC has done one thing that this European Union citizen considers worth an honourable mention in this list. It now allows me to transfer funds free of charge between my bank in the UK and other banks in the Single European Payments Area. Steps like this have a impact on consumers; it saves them money. This took years to devise and implement when it could have changed retail banking a long time ago. Everything else on Barroso’s list will take a long time to touch the consumer population.

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