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Google can face formal charges in EU antitrust inquiry

BRUSSELS: Google could face formal charges in the EU’s antitrust inquiry into the search and email giant. Investigators have been looking at whether Google has abused its large search market share by pushing its own products. Rivals such as Microsoft want more competition in areas like online maps, search and shopping. The case has dragged on for five years, and ... Read More »

Capital One cuts cashback rewards after €9b a year loss to retailers

BRUSSELS: Capital One, one of the biggest providers of cashback credit cards, is cutting the rewards it offers on its products. It blames a ruling in the European Parliament to cap so-called “interchange fees”. These fees are paid by retailers to card issuers when a debit or credit card is used as payment. The European Commission claims that the fees are ... Read More »

Eurozone secretly planning to kick Greece out of single currency

BRUSSELS: Eurozone countries are secretly drawing up plans to expel Greece from the European Union’s single currency as they prepare for the country to be declared bankrupt next month. A memo drawn up by the finance ministry in Finland, which is closely allied to Germany, has revealed preparations for a Greek exit from the euro. Read More »

24-hour general strike in Belgium blocks operations at Antwerp Port

BRUSSELS: A 24-hour general strike is underway in Belgium, with the country’s transportation networks including its ports, coming to a standstill. Belgium’s ports have been blockaded because of the industrial action against austerity, with dock workers amongst those frustrated by government proposals to scrap a cost-of-living wage rise next year. At Europe’s third busiest port, the Port of Antwerp, no ... Read More »

24-hour general strike in Belgium blocks operations at Antwerp Port

BRUSSELS: A 24-hour general strike is underway in Belgium, with the country’s transportation networks including its ports, coming to a standstill. Belgium’s ports have been blockaded because of the industrial action against austerity, with dock workers amongst those frustrated by government proposals to scrap a cost-of-living wage rise next year. At Europe’s third busiest port, the Port of Antwerp, no ... Read More »

EU demands 4 European states to provide information over possible illegal funding of their banks

BRUSSELS: The EU has demanded four European states to provide information over the possible illegal funding of their banks, officials stated. “We can confirm that administrative letters have been sent to Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece,” European Commission spokeswoman Lucia Caudet stated, adding that a formal investigation would only be formally opened depending on the states’ answers. What is especially ... Read More »

ECB meets monthly goal of purchasing 60b euros in govt and private-sector bonds

BRUSSELS: The European Central Bank’s 1.1 trillion euro ($1.2 trillion) stimulus program is off to a running start. The central bank said it has met its monthly goal of purchasing 60 billion euros in government and private-sector bonds, the first stage of an effort that is to last into next year. The bond purchases, which pump newly printed money into ... Read More »

Belgians paying 75% more for electricity than residents in Netherlands, France, Germany

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Interconnector sets gas sale terms: Pipeline can export 20bcm/year to Belgium, import 25.5bcm/year to Britain

BRUSSELS: Interconnector UK, operator of the gas link between Britain and Belgium, set terms for the first sales of pipeline capacity starting from 2018 until late in 2029, according to a statement. Gas shippers will be able to buy up to 80 percent of the link’s long-term capacity, with the remainder set aside for short-term sales, said the company, a ... Read More »

Belgium interested in further collaborations with Malaysia on palm oil industry

BRUSSELS: Belgium is committed to importing more palm oil from Malaysia for its food industry, according to its ambassador to Malaysia Daniel Dargent. Dargent said Belgium was also interested in further collaborations with Malaysia on the palm oil industry. He pointed out that a leading Belgian company, Oleon NV, had undertaken investments in the oleochemical sector in Malaysia, which used ... Read More »

10th conference of EU textile technology platform held in Brussels

BELGIUM: The 10th conference of the European Technology Platform for the Future of Textiles and Clothing (Textile ETP) took place in Brussels from March 25-26, 2015. Over 150 participants from 20 countries witnessed a very broad overview of key textile technologies which moved from research labs into industrial practice or which are expected to do so. It was an impressive ... Read More »

Port of Antwerp expected to handle 198.8 million tonnes by end of 2015

BRUSSELS: The port of Antwerp is expected to handle a total of 198.8 million tonnes of freight by the end of this year. That’s an increase of 4.2% in comparison with 2013 and a new record for the port, the company said in its press release. The previous record dates from 2013, when the freight volume came to 190.8 million ... Read More »

NorthStar Realty announces closing of €1.1b pan-EU office portfolio

BRUSSELS: NorthStar Realty announced that it has closed the acquisition of a €1.1 billion pan-European office portfolio (the “Portfolio”) that NorthStar Realty entered into an agreement to acquire in 2014. The Portfolio is comprised of 11 Class A office properties located across gateway cities in seven of Europe’s top markets: London, UK; Paris, France; Hamburg, Germany; Milan, Italy; Brussels, Belgium; ... Read More »

NorthStar Realty announces closing of €1.1b pan-EU office portfolio

BRUSSELS: NorthStar Realty announced that it has closed the acquisition of a €1.1 billion pan-European office portfolio (the “Portfolio”) that NorthStar Realty entered into an agreement to acquire in 2014. The Portfolio is comprised of 11 Class A office properties located across gateway cities in seven of Europe’s top markets: London, UK; Paris, France; Hamburg, Germany; Milan, Italy; Brussels, Belgium; ... Read More »

EU to launch investigation into power of Google, Amazon in Europe

BRUSSELS: The European Union is weighing a major investigation into how Internet platforms like Google Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. operate in Europe, amid concerns that such companies have too much power over smaller firms. The investigation, proposed in an internal EU discussion paper seen by The Wall Street Journal, comes amid a flurry of other probes into various U.S. tech ... Read More »

NorthStar Realty announces closing of €1.1b pan-EU office portfolio

BRUSSELS: NorthStar Realty announced that it has closed the acquisition of a €1.1 billion pan-European office portfolio (the “Portfolio”) that NorthStar Realty entered into an agreement to acquire in 2014. The Portfolio is comprised of 11 Class A office properties located across gateway cities in seven of Europe’s top markets: London, UK; Paris, France; Hamburg, Germany; Milan, Italy; Brussels, Belgium; ... Read More »

GlaxoSmithKline establishing vaccine research center in Rockville, 600 new jobs expected

BRUSSELS: Drug maker GlaxoSmithKline is establishing a vaccine research center in Rockville that it expects will bring 600 jobs to the state. The site will join others in Belgium and Italy as one of the company’s three hubs for vaccine research and development. GlaxoSmithKline chose the Rockville site, where it is taking over a vacant but state-of-the-art lab space, because ... Read More »

Belgium customs seizes £95k haul of illicit tobacco at Holton-le-clay

BRUSSELS: A gang of smugglers was found with £95,000 of illicit tobacco in a swoop by customs officers. Grimsby man Eric Cuerton, 57, of Freeman Street was locked up for three years at Grimsby Crown Court after admitting his role in the operation which evaded tax totalling around £14,000. Ronald Johnson, 53, of High Street, Davenport, John Stewart, 51, of ... Read More »

Port of Antwerp handles 199,012,028 tonnes of freight in 2014

BRUSSELS: The port of Antwerp handled 199,012,082 tonnes of freight in 2014, a rise of 4.3% compared with the previous year. The new record that was already announced at the end of December is put into sharper focus by these figures. The record growth has been driven by the volume of containers (up 5.9%) and liquid bulk (up 5.6%). Negative ... Read More »

Antwerp diamond industry seeks to explore markets in Latin America

BRUSSELS: After the Antwerp diamond industry made it a priority in recent years to conquer the Asian market, in 2015 it will target its offensive on Latin America. Brazil, in particular, has many opportunities with regards to diamond production. Brazil currently ranks 17th among diamond producing countries but it is loaded with potential. Geologists have mapped the Brazilian landscape in ... Read More »