In its attempt to rid European countries of their energy dependence on Russia, the United States is putting their money where their mouth is. The US will create a $1 billion fund explicitly for developing European energy projects. The funds will be released over the next four years, with another $31.5 million going to the US Trade and Development Agency to facilitate the business of US firms working on energy projects in Europe.
“We’re trying to find new and inventive ways to alter the reality in Europe, which is an America that is increasingly totally and completely irrelevant,” Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who co-sponsored the bill, told ABC News Wednesday.
“Trump has made us a literal laughing stock in Europe. They get together with the cameras running, and they laugh at him, and they laugh at us. Of course Congress is going to try to do whatever we can to change that,” he added.
There are changes coming to the energy sector in 2020. For one, Europe’s Green New Deal is set to ramp up and impose more stringencies in developing more green energy initiatives in the area. Also, new regulations imposed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will curb pollution and emissions caused by ships and other maritime vessels.
Poland’s newest proposal on judicial policies isn’t going over well with the European Union. In fact, according to many, the new policies could lead to the country leaving the EU altogether. The proposed policy in question would allow the government to dismiss judges who question government reforms, a move the ruling party claims is needed to appropriately combat corruption.
The Polish Supreme Court sees its nation needing to leave the EU if these policies are enacted:
“Contradictions between Polish and EU law…. will in all likelihood lead to an intervention by EU institutions regarding an infringement of EU treaties, and in the longer run the need to leave the European Union.”
Citizens of Poland rallied around judges who feel the increasing pressure and intimidation from the current political regime. Thousands of protestors gathered in over a hundred cities across the country to show their support.
Third quarter results for the United States economy were mixed. Consumer spending over the quarter was stronger, but those gains were offset by slower business investment. All told, the US economy grew by 2.1% on the quarter, slightly higher than the previous quarter. Some economists believe US GDP growth will continue to slow and reach a paltry 1.5% next year.
Still, the US economy has maintained its longest period of economic expansion in history:
’’The economy is still solid,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton. “What this economy has lacked in momentum, it has made up for in stamina, and the Fed gave it a shot of adrenaline this year with three rate cuts.”
Unemployment continues to maintain historically low levels, while the overall sentiment for the US economy is exceedingly positive. But, these positives may not outweigh a contraction in business spending and wage stagnation enough to keep the economy going into 2020.
Do you own your own banking data? That’s the question which has been spurred as a result of a battle between PNC Bank and Venmo in the United States. PNC has restricted its users access to Venmo, suggesting they use Zelle instead as it is backed by the bank. PNC claims that it is attempting to provide its customers with more security by directing them away from third-party banking apps that can lead to increased fraud.
The bank claims that banking apps and data aggregators are leading to more industry fraud than ever:
“PNC supports our customers’ use of such apps, balanced with our steadfast commitment to protecting them from fraud,” a PNC spokesperson said in a statement. “That commitment has never been more important as the financial services industry has seen an uptick in fraud that appears related to data aggregators and data aggregator supported apps.
This battle is exactly what the EU is hoping to avoid with its Payment Services Directive (PSD2) initiative which requires banks to be open in their data sharing.
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