Confederation Europeenne de l'Immobilier European Confederation of Real Estate Agents
19 Feb 2015

Euro area annual inflation down to -0.6%

Euro area annual inflation is expected to be -0.6% in January 2015, down from -0.2% in December 20143, according to a flash estimate4 from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. This negative rate for euro area annual inflation in January is driven by the fall in energy prices (-8.9%, compared with -6.3% in December). Prices are also expected to fall for food, alcohol & tobacco (-0.1%, compared with 0.0% in December) and non-energy industrial goods (-0.1%, compared with 0.0% in December). Only prices for services are expected to increase (1.0%, compared with 1.2% in December). See full report of EUROSTAT: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/documents/2995521/6581740/2-30012015-BP-EN.pdf/d776fbcc-89b2-4bae-beb0-ad30fa709244

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13 Mar 2012

ALDE launches campaign to boost SMEs

The Liberal and Democrat (ALDE) Group in the European Parliament is stepping up the pressure on EU Member States and the Commission to boost successful entrepreneurship in Europe and further improve the framework conditions for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) ahead of the Spring European Council dedicated to growth initiatives and competitiveness. Today, ALDE is officially launching its initiative and manifesto to boost the approximately 23 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which make up to 99% of all businesses and provide two-thirds of all private sector jobs in the EU. Commenting ahead of the event, ALDE MEP Jürgen Creutzmann (FDP, Germany), who initiated the ALDE campaign aimed at boosting SMEs across Europe, said: "It is encouraging to see that Ministers and indeed the Commission are waking up to the fact that SMEs need a simpler regulatory environment to operate efficiently and effectively across the EU. But much remains to be done to reduce bureaucracy, simplify access to financial instruments and open up new markets for SMEs. ALDE has identified 22 concrete measures that will speed up this process and we are committed to pushing both the Commission and national Governments to move them along as a matter of urgency." ALDE Group leader Guy Verhofstadt (Open VLD, Belgium) added: "Small businesses are the main driving force for economic growth, innovation, employment and social integration. That's why we must ensure SMEs are fully taken into consideration in all laws we pass and critically we must encourage banks to provide the necessary start-up capital..The severity of the current economic climate means that we must redouble our efforts to stimulate opportunities for growth." Gerhard Huemer, Economic and Fiscal Policy Director at UEAPME, the European craft and SME employers’ organisation, commented:
“The vast majority of the legislation affecting SMEs comes from Brussels nowadays. That is why we welcome the campaign launched by the ALDE Group, and we hope that it will contribute towards better lawmaking for SMEs in the EU. The concrete measures in the ALDE SME Manifesto are spot on: red tape reduction, access to the single market and access to finance top the list of our members’ concerns.” Patrick Gibbels from the European Small Business Alliance (ESBA) said: "ESBA wholeheartedly welcomes the ALDE group's campaign to boost growth and local jobs. The phrase 'SMEs are the backbone of the economy' has become standard issue within the institutions' rhetoric, yet far too little is still being done in practice. The European Commission praises small companies as Europe's number one employer, it is time to act accordingly by improving SMEs' access to finance and, most importantly, by stopping to impose regulatory and administrative burdens on small companies." Arnaldo Abruzzini, Secretary General of the Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry (EUROCHAMBRES), added: “It is clear from the Chamber network’s daily contact with SMEs across Europe that the economic crisis is hitting them hard.  Unfortunately, many policy makers continue to acknowledge the economic and social importance of SMEs in one meeting and impose burdens onthem in the next.  This is why EUROCHAMBRES welcomes the unequivocal message of ALDE’s ‘Boost SMEs’ campaign and endorses the concrete measures to cut red tape, support cross-border trade and facilitate access to finance.”
Source: alde Picture: Website of Jürgen Creutzmann, www.juergen-creutzmann.de

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29 Feb 2012

Canadian home prices see a decline

Following nearly six months of increased national resale housing activity in Canada, January saw a decline in activity with home sales down 4.5% from December 2011. This also marks the biggest monthly decline since July 2010, according to statistics released last week by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).   “The national housing market is stabilizing and remains well balanced,” said Gary Morse, CREA’s President. “That said, forecasts for economic and job growth going forward vary widely for different parts of the country, suggesting a possible continuation of a softening trend in some markets, as well as the potential that demand will pick up based on strong fundamentals in others.” Activity was down in over half of all local markets in January from the previous month. Led by declines in Greater Toronto and Montréal, demand also softened in a number of other major urban centres including the Fraser Valley, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, and Greater Vancouver. source: www.worldproperties.com

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28 Feb 2012

Twelve projects for the 2012 Single Market: together for new growth

The Single Market is still the nucleus and the core economic driving force of the European Union. It also remains our most effective means of responding to the current economic crisis. Its growth potential has not yet been fully exploited, despite the progress made since it was created in 1992. The Single Market must therefore open the doors to new, greener and more inclusive growth. The Single Market Act adopted today by the European Commission aims to deliver twelve projects on which to relaunch the Single Market for 2012. These twelve instruments of growth, competitiveness and social progress range from worker mobility to SME finance and consumer protection, via digital content, taxation and trans-European networks. Their aim is to make life easier for everyone on the Single Market: businesses, citizens, consumers and workers (see IP/10/1390). The President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, has declared that: ‘The Single Market has always been the driving force behind our economic development and prosperity and, now more than ever, it remains our best asset in facing the crisis. The twelve projects that we are launching today will make it possible to give it new momentum which will significantly benefit businesses, workers and consumers. Our objective is a stronger Single Market in 2012!’. The Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, Michel Barnier, added ‘Today’s proposal is a coherent response to the shortcomings of the internal market and aims at a sustainable and inclusive growth model. The Commission calls on all concerned, first and foremost the Member States and the European Parliament, to make this action plan their own by quickly adopting the twelve key measures by 2012, so as to give the initiatives of Single Market players a greater chance to benefit fully from the opportunities on offer’. What are the twelve instruments? The more than 850 contributions received throughout the four months of public debate and the opinions and conclusions of the European institutions enabled the Commission to identify twelve instruments for stimulating growth and boosting citizens’ confidence. Each instrument is accompanied by a flagship initiative on which the Commission undertakes to make proposals during the coming months, the aim being to gain final approval from the European Parliament and the Council before the end of 2012. Each instrument also contains other, equally important proposals which should benefit from the momentum generated by the flagship initiative in order to make progress – sometimes in parallel and sometimes at a slightly slower rate. 1. Access to finance for SMEs This is a crucial measure for over 20 million small and medium-sized European enterprises which, lacking finance, often have difficulty in recruiting staff, launching new products or building up their infrastructure. The aim is therefore to put in place common rules for venture-capital funds, enabling those established in one Member State to invest in any other Member State and thus to provide innovative SMEs with funding combined with the necessary expertise and at an attractive price. 2. Worker mobility in the Single Market In 2009 5.8 million Europeans, equivalent to 2.5 % of the active population of the European Union, worked in another Member State. Enhanced mobility for qualified workers would help the European economy to be more competitive. The fact that many posts for highly-qualified personnel remain vacant makes this all the more urgent. To remove the legal obstacles still preventing Europeans from working where they wish to work, we intend to modernise the rules for recognising professional qualifications so as to simplify procedures, review the scope of the regulated professions, and strengthen confidence and cooperation between the Member States, first and foremost by issuing a European Professional Card. 3. Intellectual property rights Intellectual property is every bit as important as raw materials or the industrial base: between 44% and 75% of the resources of European businesses are linked to it. It is a strong comparative advantage of the European Union. It is thus crucial for European competitiveness to provide unitary patent protection for inventions for as many Member States as possible, the aim being to grant the first unitary patents in 2013. We are putting forward proposals to this end today (see IP/11/470 and MEMO/11/240 of 13 April). 4. Consumers: Single Market players To boost the confidence of consumers in the Single Market we must guarantee their rights. This means above all developing alternative approaches to dispute settlement and putting in place non-judicial means of redress. Consumers will then have access to easier, quicker and cheaper procedures. This is essential to online trading, in which increased consumer confidence in cross-border electronic commerce would yield an economic gain estimated at EUR 2.5 billion. 5. Services: strengthening standardisation Services are the driving force behind job creation in Europe: while EU growth averaged 2.1% per year from 1998 to 2008, the services sector grew by an average of 2.8% per year. Employment in the sector grew by 2% per year, compared with 1% for the economy as a whole. To make the most of this asset, the Commission proposes to revise the legislation on the European standardisation system to extend it to services and make standardisation procedures more effective, efficient and inclusive. 6. Stronger European networks Transport, energy and electronic communications networks are the backbone of the Single Market. High-performance infrastructures are the means to fast and reasonably-priced free movement of persons, goods, energy sources and data. The Commission will adopt legislation on energy and transport infrastructures in order to identify strategic projects of European interest. 7. Digital Single Market Boosting confidence in electronic transactions is a sine qua non for the development of a Digital Single Market that will fully benefit citizens, businesses and authorities. Europe needs legislation to guarantee mutual recognition of electronic identification and authentication across its territory, and a revision of the e-signature Directive to permit safe and unobstructed electronic interaction. 8. Social entrepreneurship As well as legitimately seeking financial profit, certain businesses also choose to pursue the general-interest objectives of social, ethical or environmental development. This sector generates growth and employment. To encourage this, we need to take full advantage of the formidable financial tool which is the European asset management industry. We will propose a European framework for mutual investment funds, so as to amplify the effect of the existing national initiatives by offering these funds the opportunities provided by the Single Market. 9. Taxation EU tax legislation no longer meets the needs of the Single Market of the 21st century or the challenges of sustainable development. It does not give sufficient encouragement to the most energy-saving or environmentally friendly practices. We are therefore putting forward today a revision of the Energy Tax Directive, aiming to guarantee consistent treatment of the various energy sources and thus take better account of the energy content of products and their CO2 emissions (see IP/11/468 and MEMO/11/238). 10. More social cohesion in the Single Market To boost social cohesion in Europe, the Commission intends to make a legislative proposal for strengthening the application of the Posting of Workers Directive, so as to prevent and penalise any abuse or circumvention of the rules. It will also clarify the exercise of fundamental social rights as part of the exercise of economic freedoms. 11. Regulatory environment for business Businesses still too often view the Single Market as an area of constraints, not of opportunities. Their lives must be simplified by reducing regulatory and administrative constraints. To achieve this, the Commission is therefore proposing a simplification of the accounting Directives as regards financial reporting obligations, and a reduction of the administrative burden, especially for SMEs. 12. Public procurement The public authorities spend some 18% of the EU’s GDP on goods, services and public works. This public expenditure is an essential tool for growth. European and national legislation has opened up public contracts to fair competition, giving citizens better quality at the best price. The Commission proposes to modernise this legislative framework in order to arrive at a balanced policy sustaining the demand for environmentally friendly, socially responsible and innovative goods and services, provide contracting authorities with simpler and more flexible procedures, and give SMEs easier access. see more: http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/barnier/index_en.htm Source: website EU Commission picture1: www.fotolia.de picture 2: www.europa.eu

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28 Feb 2012

Report about reducing administrative burdens highly welcomed

The High Level Group of Independent Stakeholders on Administrative Burdens, recently presented a report on reducing administrative burdens to European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, who congratulated the Group on its excellent work. The document identifies 74 examples of best practices and includes recommendations such as the incorporation of the smart regulation principles into the legislative processes of all EU Institutions and the use of the "Comply or Explain" approach, which aims to prevent gold plating by national authorities. In 2008, the Stoiber Group was given a mandate to assists the Commission on the implementation of the Action Programme for Reducing Administrative Burdens. This was prolonged in 2010 to identify areas of improvement as well as new courses of action to reduce red tape on businesses. The report of the High Level Group shows that there is ample room for improvement. It is important to note that roughly 30% of administrative burden on business from EU legislation is due to improper implementation at Member States level. The European Small Business Alliance ESBA highly welcomes this report. Click here to read the full report: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/secretariat_general/admin_burden/best_practice_report/docs/bp_report_signature_en.pdf source: www.esba-europe.org picture: www.europa.eu

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22 Feb 2012


More First Time Buyers (FTBs) came through estate agents’ doors than at any point in the previous eight months, according to the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA). Figures from the (NAEA) January Market Report show that 23 per cent of overall sales made last month were to FTBs, compared with 21 per cent in December. This represents the third consecutive monthly increase in sales to FTBs. The number was last this high in May 2011 (24 per cent). NAEA President Wendy Evans-Scott said: “First Time Buyers seem to be making the most of the Stamp Duty Holiday before it comes to an end in March. The NAEA and other property specialists campaigned hard for the Government to introduce the tax exemption to support First Time Buyers, and these latest figures certainly suggest that stamp duty is a key factor for those on tight budgets purchasing their first home. “We are deeply disappointed that Ministers have axed this support for a crucial part of the housing market which has benefited so many house-hunters in getting onto the property ladder.” The NAEA’s report also shows that the number of house hunters registering at branches across the country decreased slightly, with 260 per branch in January compared with 294 in December. Overall sales increased slightly across the property market in January, with an average of 6 per branch compared with 5 per branch in December. In contrast, supply levels dipped to their lowest level in 19 months with an average of just 60 properties available to house-hunters. Wendy added: “Earlier this month the Chancellor announced plans to enable a new Bank of England committee to set loan-to-value ratios on mortgages. Our latest figures show just how fragile the housing market can be; therefore any efforts to prevent unsustainable property bubbles and unwanted house price deflation are to be welcomed. “At the same time the Government also needs to take into consideration that requiring aspiring buyers to have even larger deposits than are currently demanded risks excluding even more young people from the market.”

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