A Europe In Denial Seeks To Abolish Mobile Roaming Charges
By Sara Miller Llana ,Staff writer / September 23, 2013 A projection of German Chancellor and leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Angela Merkel being congratulated by a party member, is beamed onto the side of the Marie-Elisabeth-Luders-Haus, the German parliamentary library, in Berlin on Sunday. With Mrs. Merkel set for a third term as chancellor, much of Europe will be looking to Germany to take a greater role in leading the Continent. Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters The Christian Science Monitor Weekly Digital Edition It wasn’t to mark any event at home, but rather Germany ‘s federal election: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been loath to push any policy in the European Union that would perturb her electorate. And thus what’s next for the EU has effectively been on the back burner for the past half a year. Ms. Merkel won a stunning victory last night, almost capturing an absolute majority for the first time in over 50 years. She ultimately came just short of that feat, so her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) will have to forge a coalition, most likely with the Social Democrats (SPD), which trailed over 15 points behind. RECOMMENDED: Think you know Europe? Take our geography quiz. But her strong mandate is clear. Last night’s results put Merkel on course to surpass Margaret Thatcher as the longest-serving female elected leader of Europe. They also seal her position as the world’s most powerful woman, putting Europe’s destiny more squarely than ever in her hands. But Europeans expecting major changes from Germany post-election, even with a government that turns leftward with a possible SPD coalition, are most likely going to be disappointed, say European analysts.
China, Europe orders signal economic healing but U.S. disappoints
Purchasing managers’ indexes, surveying thousands of companies across the globe, showed a welcome pick-up in the euro zone and China although slower growth in the United States’ manufacturing sector backed the Federal Reserve’s decision last week to maintain its support for the world’s largest economy. Financial data firm Markit said its “flash,” or preliminary, U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) retreated to 52.8 this month from 53.1 in August, confounding analysts’ forecasts of an improvement. A reading above 50 indicates expansion. Output growth accelerated but new order inflows slowed, suggesting “production growth is likely to weaken in the fourth quarter unless demand picks up again in October,” said Chris Williamson, Markit’s chief economist. The Fed surprised markets last week by postponing a reduction of its massive, $85-billion (53 billion pounds)-a-month bond-buying program, while downgrading its growth forecasts. Conflicting views from policymakers of when the wind-down will come has left markets uneasy, while the threat of another fight on Capitol Hill over how much the United States can borrow loomed large. The uncertainty emanating from Washington took the shine off a German election triumph for Angela Merkel which confirmed she would remain Europe’s dominant leader as the continent tries to put its debt crisis to bed. Still, the bloc should be able to take on its continuing challenges from a position of improving economic growth, after the region pulled out of recession in the second quarter. Markit’s Eurozone Flash Composite PMI jumped to 52.1 in September from last month’s 51.5, its highest since June 2011 and beating expectations for a reading of 51.9. The pace of expansion in the bloc’s dominant services sector also beat all forecasts in a Reuters poll and the surveys suggested the recovery was becoming more broad-based. Business at firms in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, expanded at a faster pace than last month and in France, the second biggest, activity increased – albeit marginally – for the first time in 19 months. FORWARD MARCH Markit said the composite euro zone PMI, which surveys both manufacturing and service sector companies across the region and is seen as a good guide to economic growth, pointed to a 0.2 percent expansion this quarter, matching a Reuters poll taken earlier this month. “Today’s PMI figures support the view that the euro zone recovery is gradually becoming more entrenched and, as such, further reduce the odds that the ECB will follow up its forward guidance rhetoric with action,” said Martin van Vliet at ING. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said earlier this month monetary policy would remain accommodative for as long as necessary, and that interest rates would remain at present or lower levels for an extended period of time.
Brennan brings with him over 15 years expertise in the broadcast and technology industry and an in-depth knowledge of the Middle East and Central and Eastern European regions. Before joining Avid, he was vice president of Central Europe and Eurasia at Grass Valley and has also held the posts of vice president Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa at McAfee and EMEA general manager/regional sales and marketing director Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa at Adobe. Brennan has also served as non-executive board member at OSB Germany and held positions at IBM and Microsoft. Reporting to Tom Cordiner, vice president of international sales at Avid, Brennan will be based at Avids office in Munich. Im absolutely delighted to welcome someone of Christophers experience and caliber to the team at a time when were rapidly building our momentum in these key regions, said Cordiner. Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Turkey are enormously important territories to Avid as broadcasters and media organisations look to develop greater operating efficiencies through the deployment of fluid, end-to-end and distributed media production environments that enable them to create, manage, distribute and realise the value of their content. Christophers first-hand experience and insight into these regions will prove invaluable as we continue to expand our presence there. As part of its ongoing commitment to customers in the Middle East, Avid is also building an on-site demo facility at its Dubai Media City offices, similar to the Avid Centre of Excellence (ACE) at Avids European headquarters in Pinewood, Buckinghamshire. The new facility replicates real-world broadcast and post production environments and will serve to demonstrate the benefits of integrated and end-to-end workflows to customers. About Avid Through Avid Everywhere, Avid delivers the industry’s most open, innovative andcomprehensivemedia platform connecting content creation withcollaboration, assetprotection, distribution and consumption for the most listened to, most watched and most loved media in the worldfrom the most prestigious and award-winning feature films, music recordings,andtelevision shows,to live concertsand news broadcasts.Industry leading solutions include Pro Tools, Media Composer, ISIS, Interplay, and Sibelius.For more information about Avid solutions and services,visit www.avid.com , connect with Avid on Facebook , Twitter , YouTube , LinkedIn , Google+ ; or subscribe to Avid Blogs . 2013 Avid Technology, Inc. All rights reserved.
Avid Continues Momentum in Central Europe, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East
The populist centerpiece of the proposal is the elimination of roaming charges. Service providers, according to the proposal, dont have to agree to end them, but then would have to allow customers to substitute a local SIM card from the country of travel, whichassuming savvy customersmeans no roaming anyway and loss of business. Either way, customers will no longer have to pay for incoming calls when traveling in other EU countries starting in July 2014. Two years later, all roaming charges would be scrapped altogether. Kroes (with strong support from EC President Manuel Barroso) also seeks to cap prices of EU-wide calls at the level of long-distance calls within a country. It doesnt take much cynicism to note that the personages most acutely aware of roaming charges are EU politicians and their lobbyist friends, who have to scoot between France and Belgium and their home constituencies and many important conferences and meetings at, say, Lake Como or Malaga. The generous interpretation of this is that EU apparatchiks simply assume that everyone is as annoyed by roaming charges as they are, and are thus trying to bring their benevolent influence to all and sundry. More cynically one cant help but think they are aware that those roving and roaming customers will see in the leveling of prices a convenient way of having the stationary masses absorb some of the roamers additional cost, all in the name of doing everyone a political favor. (Subsidizing the few at the cost of all incidentally being something the EU bureaucracy knows only too well how to do.) Its self-centered, yet its got a nice populist touch to it, especially when announced towards the end of summer holiday time, just as travelers find themselves hit by the hefty extra charges. Its hard to avoid this interpretation given that the official website of the Digital Agenda for Europe suggests that there is weak competition among national operators for roaming customers [that] has, at times, led to excessive prices for these services. Not only is it the EU Commissions position, apparently, to determine what prices exactly are excessive, they are also aware there is weak competition among operators. But if there is sufficient domestic, home-country competition, it is surely a question of lack of customer-bother about roaming services, not the positioning or quantity of carriers available. In other words: its a demand problem, not a supply problem. In fairness, an intra-EU wide competition is a desirable notion and it is tough to regulate the EU-wide set of services which have traditionally been the province of national regulators. But short of having Brussels take over all regulation of telecom servicessomething that the limited popular accountability of Brussels bureaucrats makes an unpalatable propositionthats not easy.