A modified bitcoin. The EU is looking in to the possibility regulating it and similar cryptocurrencies.
Photo: Creative Commons
The EU and Luxembourg in the headlines
Cryptocurrency regulation; reaction to Corbyn; Myanmar sanctions
EU prepared to regulate cryptocurrencies
European Commission vice-president in charge of financial services Valdis Dombrovskis has said the EU would “not exclude the possibility” of regulating crypto-currencies at an EU level “if we see, for example, risks emerging but no clear international response emerging.” Speaking after a roundtable attended by the European Central Bank, industry bodies, and the Financial Stability Board, Dombrovskis said that “it’s important there is an international follow-up at the global level” to the worldwide phenomenon of cryptocurrencies. However, as Reuters reports, Dombrovskis has said that the EU will only decide definitively on how to address the issue later this year or early in 2019. G20 finance ministers and central bankers meet in Buenos Aires in March, with crypto-currencies set to be on the agenda.
Mixed reaction to Corbyn’s Brexit speech
As expected, reaction to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s speech on Monday in which he called for the UK to be in a permanent customs union with the EU after Brexit. In The Guardian, Carolyn Fairbairn, the Confederation of British Industry director general, was quoted as saying that a commitment to a customs union would “put jobs and living standards first by remaining in a close economic relationship with the EU.” And his speech also gained approval from a number of trade union leaders in the UK. The Financial Times agreed that the apparent change of heart by Corbyn was a “welcome shift”. Adam Marshall of the British Chambers of Commerce was more skeptical and said the speech was “more political than practical for business”. But stronger dissent came from UK trade minister Liam Fox, who said that if the country stayed in a customs union “We would be in a worse position than we are today. It would be a complete sell-out of Britain’s national interests.”
EU wants sanctions against Myanmar generals
European Union foreign ministers meeting on Monday called for “targeted restrictive measures against senior military officers of the Myanmar armed forces responsible for serious and systematic human rights violations without delay”. But earlier in February Russia and China used their veto at the U.N. Security Council to resist sanctions, despite describing the military crackdown in Myanmar as “ethnic cleansing”. More than 680,000 people, mostly Rohingya, have fled Rakhine for shelter over the border in Bangladesh, the EU said.