Category Archives: International Relationship

Top 100 City Destinations Ranking: WTM London 2017 Edition

Thanks;Wouter Geerts

Published;NOVEMBER 7TH, 2017

Euromonitor International is pleased to release its annual Top City Destinations Ranking, covering 100 of the world’s leading cities in terms of international tourist arrivals. For the first time, the Top 100 City Destinations Ranking 2017 Edition was unveiled at World Travel Market (WTM) London, the leading travel and tourism event worldwide. This year’s report includes forecast data up to 2025 and incorporates future travel trends to give further insight on how travel trends are borne out of the opportunities and challenges that cities face.

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According to the report, Hong Kong was the most visited city in the world, benefiting from its strategic location and relationship with China, followed by Bangkok, which has overtaken London in 2015. Asian cities dominate the global destination rankings thanks to the inexorable rise of Chinese outbound tourism. In 2010, 34 cities from Asia Pacific were present in Euromonitor International’s ranking. This jumped to 41 cities in 2017 and is expected to grow to 47 cities in 2025. Asia Pacific is the standout region that has driven change in the travel landscape and is expected to continue doing so in the coming decade with Singapore overtaking London as the third most visited city in the world by 2025 making the podium fully Asian.

On the contrary, the performance of European cities has been hampered by several events in recent years, including the Eurozone and migrants crisis, as well as Brexit and terrorist attacks. Despite the uncertainty, some European destinations, in particular Greece, Italy and Spain have profited from unrest in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), as they offer a similar climate to countries affected by unrest such as Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia.

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Performance in the MENA region has fluctuated greatly in recent years, however Euromonitor forecast data show a recovery for the region in 2017 and beyond. Most noteworthy, it is expected that Egypt will register growth in 2017, after a strong decline in 2016. While the Middle East and North Africa’s main challenges are wars and border disputes, Africa is looking to do the reverse: opening borders and enhancing collaboration with the African Union’s plans towards seamless border. African leaders are seeing travel and tourism as a way to boost the economic prosperity of the continent.

In stark contrast to Africa, the plans towards stronger border controls might weight heavily on America’s performance. Although seeing positive growth, US arrivals witnessed a slowdown in 2016 due to a strong dollar and political uncertainty surrounding the US elections. According to Euromonitor International’s Travel Forecast Model, if the US drops out the NAFTA and imposes a 35 percent tariff on Mexican imports, followed by Mexican retaliation, the impact on inter-regional travel would be considerable. New York, the most visited city in America and the only US city in the top ten most visited city ranking, has revised its 2017 forecast expecting a potential fall of 300,000 visitors, as a worst case scenario.

 

The top ten most visited cities are:

1. HONG KONG: 26.6 MILLION VISITORS

2. BANGKOK: 21.2 MILLION VISITORS

3. LONDON: 19.2 MILLION VISITORS

4. SINGAPORE: 16.6 MILLION VISITORS

5. MACAU: 15.4 MILLION VISITORS

6. DUBAI: 14.9 MILLION VISITORS

7. PARIS: 14.4 MILLION VISITORS

8. NEW YORK: 12.7 MILLION VISITORS

9. SHENZHEN: 12.6 MILLION VISITORS

10. KUALA LUMPUR: 12.3 MILLION VISITORS

Source: Euromonitor International

 

Euromonitor International’s report drills down into the detail of the figures to highlight why some cities are performing better than others and how emerging trends are going to re-shape the travel industry and disrupt the ranking up to 2025.

Some of the key emerging travel trends identified by the report are:

Asia – Cashless Asia

Cities as Digital Investments

To ensure continued arrivals growth and sustainable expansion, Asia cities are streaming ahead with initiatives to become smart cities. A big step towards as “smarter” society and economy is the growth of digital payment facilities. Cryptocurrencies are here to stay. The impact on the travel industry could be immense, not only in the way people travel, but also by simplifying smart contracts.

Europe – Angels and EU-nicorns

Cities as a Start-Up

While overcrowding represents a key issue in many European cities, there is a growing drive amongst start-ups in Europe to address other pain points in travel. Some of the largest start-ups in travel originate from the US. However, the US is increasingly competing with European hubs for start-up talents and investment.

UK – Rail Revolution

Cities as connectors

Over half of the international travelers coming to the UK visit London. There is a major gap between London and the second city, Edinburgh, which has less than 10% of London’s arrivals. Making the rest of the UK more accessible is an important focus of the UK’s strategy with rail a key focus to achieve a better connectivity and movement of international visitors.

Americas – Recognize that face?

Cities as hubs of innovation

As part of his policy to tighten border control, US President Donald Trump has ordered increased speed in implementing biometric scanners at airports. The travel industry is not only looking at the face to merely identify a traveler, but also to tell travel players what it wants, through speech and emotion. Voice is widely lauded as the latest frontier, which would have big implications for travel.

MEA – Looking beyond borders

Cities as entry points

Performance in the Middle East and Africa has fluctuated greatly due to unrest in many countries. However, 2017 is expected to be a good year across the board. Dubai seems insulated from all the turmoil that is going on around it. The city’s tourism industry is booking and is adopting new technologies at rapid pace. Johannesburg is the only Sub-Saharan Africa city in the ranking. However, tourism is considered a pillar of its economic growth strategy and the city is investing heavily in technology.

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Catalonia just declared independence from Spain

Thanks;Alexandra Ma

Published;Oct,27

Pro-independence supporters wave the Catalan flag in Barcelona.Yves Herman/Reuters

• Catalonia has declared independence from Spain.

• Meanwhile, Spain’s Senate is voting over whether to allow the government to activate Article 155 and take control of Catalonia.

• Mariano Rajoy, the country’s prime minister, wants to depose the Catalan president and hold new elections.

• Friday’s vote comes a day after Catalan President Carles Puigdemont refused to dissolve parliament.

• The power struggle came to a head after Catalonia voted to secede from Spain in October.

Catalonia has declared independence from Spain.

Lawmakers in the regional parliament in Barcelona voted to become a sovereign independent state against Spain’s wishes. Carme Forcadell, the president of the paraliament, also asked the EU to recognise Catalonia as a sovereign nation.

It came as Spain’s prime minister asked the Senate to approve Article 155, which would allow the government to take control over Catalonia.

The Spanish Senate gathered on Friday morning to vote on the emergency measures. It remains unclear which of Catalonia’s powers will be suspended if Article 155 is activated.

While the article’s language is vague, it allows the government to “take the necessary measures” if an autonomous region “seriously undermines the general interest of Spain.” Madrid can, in theory, take control of Catalonia’s police and finances, and replace its administration, Reuters reported.

The power struggle between Spain and Catalonia came to a head after 2.2 million Catalonians voted on October 1 to secede from Spain.

In a 33-minute speech on Friday, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy asked that the Senate let him depose Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, replace the regional administration, and hold new parliamentary elections within six months.

Members of Rajoy’s People’s Party applaud after the prime minister’s speech.Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty

The vote came a day after Puigdemont refused to dissolve the regional parliament, as Spain had requested, saying he had not received guarantees from Madrid that it will ditch plans to trigger Article 155.

But Rajoy piled the blame on Puigdemont, telling the Senate: “The fault is his, and only his. The 155 is not against Catalonia, but to prevent the abuse of Catalonia.”

If the Senate gives Rajoy the go-ahead, this would be the first time Spain invokes Article 155 in its constitution’s 39-year history. The constitution, which said the country was “indivisible” but respected territorial self-government, gave Catalonia the right to its own language and control over healthcare and education, according to Bloomberg.

Rajoy said: “It is the first time since 1978 that Article 155 is adopted because the situation is exceptional.” He also said the referendum was “the biggest mockery of democracy we have seen since the adoption of the Constitution.”

The Catalan parliament is still in session, and could declare independence on Friday, the New York Times reported.

There are no Muslim or Christian terrorists: Dalai Lama

Thanks;IANS in India

Published;Oct,19

There are no Muslim or Christian terrorists because terrorists are no more religious once they embrace terror, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama said on Wednesday.

“People cease to be Muslim, Christian or any group the moment they became terrorists,” the Dalai Lama said at a public reception here on the second day of a three-day visit to Manipur.

The Tibetan leader also said that he does not like the “America first” slogan of US President Donald Trump.

A strong votary of non-violence, the Nobel Prize winner said violence does not solve any problem.

“India, which has a tradition of 1,000 years of non-violence, could ensure world peace by reviving the ancient knowledge.”

According to him, almost all the problems people face today were “our own creation”.

He underlined the need to control emotions. Anger weakens people’s immune system and as such was bad for health, he warned.

“Out of seven billion people on earth, six billion are children of god while one billion are non-believers.”

Problems around the world can be solved through dialogue, said the Dalai Lama, who has lived in India since fleeing his homeland in 1959 and who is hated by the Chinese Communist regime.

India with her ancient knowledge and education could ensure world peace, he said. “China has also potentialities except for the Communist ideology.”

The spiritual leader said that the widening gap between the rich and poor was morally wrong. “This gap is visible in India and Manipur also.”

In his speech, the Dalai Lama recalled how he came to India as a refugee 58 years ago. India is also home to some 100,000 Tibetans.

New Lifestyles System Data: 2017 Global Consumer Trends Survey Results

Thanks;  Euromonitor Research

Published; SEPTEMBER 28TH, 2017

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We are excited to announce that the latest consumer survey results from the 2017 Global Consumer Trends survey are now live in the Lifestyles dashboard in our Passport database. Euromonitor International’s Global Consumer Trends surveys help companies stay ahead of a fast-changing consumer landscape by reaching out to internet-connected consumers from across the globe, then translating the results into comprehensive analysis and actionable opportunities.

Euromonitor International’s latest Global Consumer Trends survey data reveals a multitude of information about the 2017 consumer. With a global environment of rapid change and constant innovation, it is no surprise that consumer’s lifestyles are adapting quickly. The megatrend analysis enables Euromonitor International to identify emerging trends, while also monitoring how long-term megatrends are shaping the world. These megatrends are applicable to this year’s survey results.  Read on to learn more about the five key trends shaping consumer lifestyles.

Experience More

Millennials lead the way in trading the accumulation of things for experiences, particularly authentic, international travel opportunities. However, all consumers of all ages are looking for more time to relax.

Middle Class Retreat

Shopping preferences vary widely across markets and consumer segments, with some focused on buying fewer, high quality products and others succumbing to the pull of bargain hunting.

Connected Consumers

Consumers must now balance the benefits of ever-present internet access with added stresses and challenges to focus on “real world” activities.

Healthy Living

While consumers across the globe have nearly-endless access to health and wellness information, those with higher education are most likely to take advantage of tech advancements and opportunities to research and monitor their health.

Premiumisation

Meal preparation from scratch is often the first thing to go as consumers juggle priorities, particularly among younger consumers who are more likely to turn to meal preparation kits or delivery / takeaway options that offer convenience and premium ingredients.

To learn more about the latest Lifestyles trends, download our free survey extract or request a demonstration of Passport. If you’re a current client, the full system refresher highlighting key survey findings across all major consumer lifestyles areas can be found in the Lifestyles system in Passport.

 

Governments commit to promote a more resource efficient and pollution free Asia-Pacific

Thanks;Kavita Sukanandan

PUBLISHED;8 Sep 2017

Issued:

8 Sep 2017
News Number:

G/36/2017
Location:

Bangkok
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Environment ministers and high-level officials from over 30 countries in Asia-Pacific have committed to move towards a clean and green Asia-Pacific, one that is more resource efficient and pollution free at the first Asia-Pacific Ministerial Summit on the Environment that concluded today in Bangkok. This will advance global agendas like the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, the UN Environment Assembly resolutions and other global commitments.

The Summit culminated in a call for collaborative action to ensure that environment and development is approached in an integrated way, from promoting the sustainable management of natural resources, urban planning and spatial development, to fostering sustainable agriculture practices and advancing the green economy to reduce waste and pollution.

Participants at the Summit, jointly organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and UN Environment also highlighted the urgency of addressing environmental health risks associated with pollution, promoting resource efficiency measures and practices, and protecting natural capital and ecosystem integrity including wildlife, biodiversity and oceans.

United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP Dr. Shamshad Akhtar said, “This is an important cornerstone of regional collaboration on sustainable management of natural resources in Asia and the Pacific. It underpins the agreement already reached in the regional roadmap for sustainable development and provides us with the vision of our member States on future cooperation.”

“There is a clear resolve to bring about a pollution free Asia Pacific. Political leadership, private sector engagement and citizen action is essential to ensure that people’s basic needs like access to healthcare, water and proper sanitation are met. At the same time, it is imperative that we step up efforts to reduce plastic waste and marine litter,” said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment.

Other issues addressed at the periphery of the Summit include gender and environment, oceans governance, climate geoengineering, investments in water infrastructure and the Astana Green Bridge Initiative.

Robotics in Rural Lithuania

Thanks:Nikolaj Ambrusevic

Published;AUGUST 31ST, 2017

One of our charity partners in Lithuania, Robotikos Mokykla (Robotic School), recently invited us to participate in a workshop in the tiny village of Karvys, 30km north of Vilnius. Robotic School is a charity working primarily with young people to foster an interest in STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, art and maths) through engaging and practical workshops. The project also aims to create a safe space for young people and help develop social and other skills.

The main idea of this session was to reach out to young people who cannot go to organised classes and who have little access to the internet at home. Robotic School’s enthusiasts Jonas and Evaldas told us not to expect much from the workshop as the majority of rural children are busy helping their parents with agricultural and other duties, so computers and other devices are mainly used just for entertainment.

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During the workshop, tools based on simple programming for creating animation and games were introduced to two groups of young people from 5-12 years, and 16-18 years. While the younger group were creating their very first cartoon, the teenagers had a chance to get familiar with micro bit programming. Although the majority of participants had little knowledge of computer technologies, they showed a huge interest in programming and shared positive feedback afterwards. It was good to observe how small achievements in a new digital environment changed their attitude, making them more focused and persistent.

The social workers of the club were amazed by the overall impact of our visit and were keen to run similar activities again in the future. I was so glad to be a part of it and am proud that Euromonitor is supporting Robotic School through our CSR programme.

 

Barcelona truck attack reportedly leaves at least 12 dead and 80 injured

Thanks;

Published: Aug 17, 2017 4:27 p.m. ET

MW-FS548_barcel_20170817131833_ZHPeople move from the scene after a van crashed into pedestrians near the pedestrianized central thoroughfare Las Ramblas in Barcelona

Officials embark on terrorism investigation

MADRID (MarketWatch) — A popular promenade in Barcelona, Spain, became a scene of panic and devastation on Thursday after a van rammed pedestrians, leaving a dozen people dead and dozens more injured.

The incident took place on Las Ramblas, a long, tree-lined street that is typically packed with tourists and locals, around 5 p.m. local time (11 a.m. Eastern time).

Local media were at one point reporting that hostages were being held at a bar near the scene of the attack by other assailants, but later reports cast doubt on the matter. The Associated Press cited the regional president in reporting that two suspects had been arrested.

The Wall Street Journal, citing the jidahist-activity-monitoring organization SITE Intelligence Group, reported that Islamic State had claimed responsibility for the attack. Spain’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, tweeted that terrorists would never defeat a united people who love freedom.

The seaside city was on lockdown in the immediate wake of the attack, with residents told to not leave their homes and many reported to be sheltering inside stores and restaurants and bars that closed the moment news of the attack reached them.

Media reports in Spain and the U.S. indicated the police were treating the incident as a terrorist attack. The police presence on streets in the Spanish capital Madrid, some 600 kilometers southwest of Barcelona, was sharply escalated in the wake of the Barcelona attack.

Nathalie Lezcano Sticchi, a 28-year-old resident of Barcelona who lives near the area, told MarketWatch she had passed the scene of the attack just five minutes before, stepping off the Ramblas to go into a Zara clothing store on a side street.

“When I was on the first floor, one of the guys who was working [at Zara] said, ‘You have to go outside, we are going to close because something is happening at the Ramblas,’ ” Sticchi said in a telephone interview. She said a friend had forwarded her a message from his mother, who had been at Las Ramblas and seen a truck crashing into people.

Sticchi ran to her house, as stores drew their shutters all around her. “People were running everywhere, and no one understood what was going on,” she said, “and I started hearing ambulances.”

Several metro lines were closed in Barcelona, and the area remained sealed off into the evening. Police were urging individuals not to share images of the crash site on social media. They also thanked the media for pixellating images they had chose to use of victims:

Clooneys to help 3,000 Syrian refugees go to school in Lebanon

Thanks;Riham Alkousaa

Published;AUGUST 1, 2017 / 5:37 AM / 2 DAYS AGO


Cast member George Clooney and his wife Amal leave the Festival Palace after the screening of the film “Money Monster” out of competition at the 69th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 12, 2016.

Regis Duvignau

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – George and Amal Clooney said on Monday they would help 3,000 Syrian refugee children go to school this year in Lebanon, where the United Nations says 200,000 children are not receiving an education after fleeing the war in neighboring Syria.
The Clooney Foundation for Justice said it has teamed up with Google (GOOGL.O) and HP Inc (HPQ.N) to help the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF and the Lebanese Ministry of Education open seven so-called “second shift” schools for Syrian refugee children.
Lebanon has more than 1 million Syrian refugees, including nearly 500,000 children. It is educating Syrian children in public schools through a “second shift” system of additional afternoon classes exclusively for them.
“We don’t want to lose an entire generation because they had the bad luck of being born in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Oscar-winning actor George Clooney and international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, who gave birth to twins last month.
“Thousands of young Syrian refugees are at risk – the risk of never being a productive part of society,” the couple said in a statement. “Formal education can help change that.”
A $3.25 million donation from the Clooney Foundation for Justice, Google and HP will pay for transportation, school supplies, computers, content, curriculum and teacher training.
A spokesman for the Clooneys’ foundation, Max Gleischman, said the organization had decided to support education for Syrian refugees through the public school system, instead of investing in private schools operated by SABIS, an international company which has prepared students for college and high school exams.
The foundation had announced last year that it would work to enroll thousands of children in SABIS schools.
A crackdown by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on pro-democracy protesters in 2011 led to civil war, and Islamic State militants used the chaos to seize territory in Syria and Iraq. Half of Syria’s 22 million people have been uprooted and more than 400,000 killed.
*Reporting by Riham Alkousaa; Editing by Jonathan Oatis

‘It’s time to propose this’: Trump and Brexit give momentum to EU defense push

Thanks; Gabriela Baczynska &               Robin Emmott, Reuters


European Commissioner Bienkowska arrives to a meeting of EU defence ministers in BrusselsThomson Reuters

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union’s executive is ready to increase support for the bloc’s first ever defense research program, offering more funds to develop new military hardware in its earliest stages after years of government cuts, a top EU official said.

Following a 90-million-euro pilot investment from the EU’s common budget in 2017-2019, the European Commission is proposing 500 million euros ($563 million) for the 2019-2020 period that could rise to 1 billion euros a year from 2021, Industry Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska told Reuters.
“European citizens see security as the number one thing that Europe should provide to them, so it’s time to propose this,” Bienkowska said in an interview.
With Britain, one of EU’s leading military powers, leaving the bloc, ideas for common EU defense are gathering pace in the wake of Islamic attacks in Western Europe. Europeans are also worried about US commitment to NATO under President Donald Trump.
Under the proposal unveiled on Wednesday, at least three firms and two member states would have to submit a joint project to be eligible for financing from the EU budget.
If agreed by governments and the European Parliament, the EU budget would put up 20 percent of the costs of developing prototypes, Bienkowska said.
“The prototype phase is the riskiest one and it is very important to have incentives from the European budget to prepare common projects,” she added.
A European drone is often cited as an example of how EU funding can help get projects underway. Bienkowska said she also hoped to see cyber projects from smaller firms and innovative startups.

She said she wants negotiations and legislative work between the Commission, member states and the European Parliament to finalize by the end of 2018.


U.S. President Donald Trump (R) speaks to Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May during in a working dinner meeting at the NATO headquarters during a NATO summit of heads of state and government in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2017.

Brexit factor

The EU’s political capital Brussels hopes it can turn the tables on Brexit – an unprecedented setback in 60 years of European integration – by moving ahead with closer defense and security cooperation, which London had long blocked.
The EU, where most governments are also NATO allies, have also come under increased pressure from Trump, who last month scolded the Europeans for failing to spend enough on their own defense.

Though Bienkowska said work on promoting more security and defense cooperation in the EU has started two years ago, she admitted Europe’s unease about Trump gives it additional momentum: “All developments in the United States will make our cooperation (in Europe) stronger.”

“We will work more closely in the European Union, what we want to achieve is to have a stronger European defense and a stronger NATO.”

Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and its subsequent backing for militias fighting Kiev troops in the industrial east of the former Soviet republic also add to the bloc’s security concerns.
The EU estimates it loses up to a 100 billion euros a year on duplication, leaving it with far fewer capabilities than the United States. Years of defense cuts have worsened the issue as national governments jealously protect their own firms.
Europe has 37 types of armored personal carriers and 12 types of tanker aircraft compared to nine and four respectively in the United States, according to EU analysis.
European Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska arrives to a meeting of European Union defence ministers at the EU Council in Brussels, Belgium May 18, 2017. REUTERS/Eric Vidal

European Commissioner Bienkowska arrives to a meeting of EU defence ministers in BrusselsThomson Reuters

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union’s executive is ready to increase support for the bloc’s first ever defense research program, offering more funds to develop new military hardware in its earliest stages after years of government cuts, a top EU official said.

Following a 90-million-euro pilot investment from the EU’s common budget in 2017-2019, the European Commission is proposing 500 million euros ($563 million) for the 2019-2020 period that could rise to 1 billion euros a year from 2021, Industry Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska told Reuters.
“European citizens see security as the number one thing that Europe should provide to them, so it’s time to propose this,” Bienkowska said in an interview.
With Britain, one of EU’s leading military powers, leaving the bloc, ideas for common EU defense are gathering pace in the wake of Islamic attacks in Western Europe. Europeans are also worried about US commitment to NATO under President Donald Trump.
Under the proposal unveiled on Wednesday, at least three firms and two member states would have to submit a joint project to be eligible for financing from the EU budget.
If agreed by governments and the European Parliament, the EU budget would put up 20 percent of the costs of developing prototypes, Bienkowska said.
“The prototype phase is the riskiest one and it is very important to have incentives from the European budget to prepare common projects,” she added.
A European drone is often cited as an example of how EU funding can help get projects underway. Bienkowska said she also hoped to see cyber projects from smaller firms and innovative startups.
She said she wants negotiations and legislative work between the Commission, member states and the European Parliament to finalize by the end of 2018.
theresa may donald trump
U.S. President Donald Trump (R) speaks to Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May during in a working dinner meeting at the NATO headquarters during a NATO summit of heads of state and government in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2017.Reuters/Thierry Charlier

Brexit factor

The EU’s political capital Brussels hopes it can turn the tables on Brexit – an unprecedented setback in 60 years of European integration – by moving ahead with closer defense and security cooperation, which London had long blocked.
The EU, where most governments are also NATO allies, have also come under increased pressure from Trump, who last month scolded the Europeans for failing to spend enough on their own defense.
Though Bienkowska said work on promoting more security and defense cooperation in the EU has started two years ago, she admitted Europe’s unease about Trump gives it additional momentum: “All developments in the United States will make our cooperation (in Europe) stronger.”

“We will work more closely in the European Union, what we want to achieve is to have a stronger European defense and a stronger NATO.”
Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and its subsequent backing for militias fighting Kiev troops in the industrial east of the former Soviet republic also add to the bloc’s security concerns.
The EU estimates it loses up to a 100 billion euros a year on duplication, leaving it with far fewer capabilities than the United States. Years of defense cuts have worsened the issue as national governments jealously protect their own firms.
Europe has 37 types of armored personal carriers and 12 types of tanker aircraft compared to nine and four respectively in the United States, according to EU analysis.

“Up until now, member states were doing things completely separately, without any cooperation. I want to appeal to the member states to think about common projects, because the money will be there,” Bienkowska said.
For the future, Bienkowska is mulling a common European defense bond for joint purchases from 2021, though she said no decisions had yet been taken.
Italy is a proponent of issuing joint EU debt, as well as exempting various types of spending from budget deficit limits. Germany, on the other hand, which is the bloc’s largest economy and key power, is opposed to both these approaches. ($1 = 0.8887 euros)
(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

6 Victims and 3 Suspects Killed in London ‘Terrorist Incident’

Thanks;Danica Kirka and Jill Lawless / AP


Updated: 11:47 PM ET | Originally published: 6:24 PM ET

LONDON (AP) — Terrorism struck at the heart of London, police said Sunday, after a vehicle veered off the road and mowed down pedestrians on London Bridge and witnesses told of men with large knives stabbing passersby at nearby Borough Market.

Police said six people died and 20 were injured in the attacks, while police shot dead three suspects. The Metropolitan Police head of counter-terrorism, Mark Rowley, said police believe all of the attackers were killed, but investigations are underway to ensure there are no more.

The violence turned a summery Saturday night in an area packed with bars and restaurants into a scene of panic and chaos, with officers running through crowded streets screaming for people to flee and lifeboats drafted to help clear the area.

The Metropolitan Police force declared the attacks “terrorist incidents.”

Hours after the attacks began, a large area of central London remained cordoned off and police told people to avoid the area, leaving tourists and revelers struggling to get home. It was unclear whether any of the attackers was on the run.

Bursts of gunfire echoed through the streets — likely from armed police — and at least three blasts rang out as police performed controlled explosions. One image taken by a witness showed a man on the ground surrounded by police; he appeared to be wearing a vest with canisters attached to it.

Gerard Vowls told The Guardian newspaper that he saw a woman being stabbed by three men at the south end of London Bridge. He said he threw chairs, glasses and bottles at the attackers in a bid to stop them.

“They kept coming to try to stab me . they were stabbing everyone. Evil, evil people,” he told the newspaper. “I want to know if this girl is still alive. I’ve been walking around for an hour and a half crying my eyes out. I don’t know what to do.”

Bartender Alex Martinez said he hid in a garbage bin for a half hour when a man stormed the restaurant where he worked, which was nearly full.

“I saw that man with a knife in his hand and after that a man started screaming so I knew something wrong was happening,” he said.

Medics treated the injured near the market as shocked people cried and shouted around them. Police officers yelled at people to run from the area.

Simon Thompson told Sky News that he was just outside Borough Market when he saw crowds fleeing.

“We ran for like 100 meters and then saw loads of police cars turned up and there was kind of a period of quite intense gunfire,” he said. “I hid in a restaurant basement for about an hour. … Police told us to get out and then there was more gunfire.”

The mayhem began just after 10 p.m. (2100GMT), when police responded to reports of a vehicle hitting pedestrians on London Bridge, which crosses the River Thames in central London. Multiple witnesses reported a vehicle veering off the road and hitting as many as six pedestrians.

“We saw injured people on the road, injured people on the pavement,” witness Will Heaven told Sky News.

Soon after, reports started coming in of stabbings at Borough Market, a nearby area full of bars and restaurants surrounding a popular food market. Witnesses reported seeing as many as three attackers with knives.

Police initially said officers were also responding to a third incident, in the Vauxhall neighborhood, but later said that turned out to be an unrelated stabbing.

Police tweeted a warning telling people in the area to run to safety, hide and then call police if it is safe to do so. They asked Londoners to “remain calm but be alert and vigilant.”

Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed the attack “is being treated as a potential act of terrorism” and said her thoughts were with “those who are caught up in these dreadful events.” May’s office said she would chair a meeting of the government’s COBRA emergency committee on Sunday.

As thousands of people flooded from the area of the attacks — many unable to get home with nearby subway stations shut — locals were quick to offer assistance.

The Royal Oak pub, near the area of the attacks, opened its doors to people evacuated from hotels. At least one taxi company offered free rides to people stranded in the area. Phaldip Singh, who describes himself as an entrepreneur and youth activist, tweeted that Sikh temples were open to provide food and shelter for those affected.

If confirmed as terrorism, this would be the third attack to hit Britain in as many months.

In March, a British convert to Islam ran down people with a vehicle on Westminster Bridge, killing four, then stabbed a policeman to death outside Parliament.

On May 22, a British suicide bomber killed 22 people and injured dozens at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. After that attack, Britain’s official threat level from terrorism was raised to “critical,” meaning an attack may be imminent. Several days later it was lowered to “severe,” meaning an attack is highly likely.

A charity concert for victims of the Manchester attack, featuring Grande and other stars, is due to be held in the northwest English city on Sunday.