What Europe Can Teach Us About Keeping The Internet Open And Free

Europe’s economic rebound to boost industrial metals demand

Credit: Reuters/Francois Lenoir By Adrian Croft BRUSSELS | Wed Sep 18, 2013 10:37pm BST BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen will urge Europe on Thursday to step up its commitment to defence by buying more surveillance drones, transport and tanker aircraft and strengthening its fragmented defence industry. Senior U.S. officials, and Rasmussen himself, have expressed growing concern that defence cuts pushed through by cash-strapped European governments have created a big gulf between U.S. and European military capabilities and risk weakening NATO. The European Union has also launched a debate, set to culminate in a summit of European leaders in December, on how Europe can strengthen its arms industry and bolster a common defence policy. In a speech to the Carnegie Europe think tank in Brussels on Thursday, Rasmussen will argue that a strong NATO needs “a strong Europe – with strong capabilities, strong defence industries, and strong political commitment,” NATO officials said. He is expected to urge European allies to strengthen their capabilities in key areas, saying they should acquire more surveillance drones, more large transport and air-to-air refuelling aircraft and more upgraded ship radars so they can be integrated into NATO’s planned missile defence system. As the United States turns its strategic focus increasingly towards Asia, it is banking on Europe to take more military responsibility in its backyard. But during the 2011 Libya conflict, European states had to rely heavily on the United States for air-to-air refuelling, intelligence and surveillance. Rasmussen will also say that Europe needs a strong defence industrial base, arguing that the continent’s defence industry remains too national and fragmented, NATO officials said. He will welcome proposals put forward by the European Union’s executive Commission in July to make the industry more efficient and competitive. The Commission proposed helping Europe’s defence industry cope with falling military budgets by funding research and aiding the development of new technologies with military uses.

In fact, with the telephone industry, it did. But then the FCC decided not to regulate broadband the same way. Whereas telecom providers had to practice unbundling, Internet providers didn’t the better to encourage them to build more infrastructure , or so the logic went. If all the companies expected to freeload, nobody would take the responsibility to lay the cables. Today, that means every ISP owns its own network. But it also means there are fewer competitors in the marketplace. “In the year 2000, there were 9,000 ISPs in the United States,” Kehl told me. After the FCC steered clear of unbundling for broadband, she said, the number fell by 74 percent to less than 2,500 in 2005. Now that the market for broadband has become so empty, net neutrality is one of the few policies that can keep the Internet open and affordable, Kehl said. Europe will be watching the D.C. Circuit closely for a decision on net neutrality. However the case turns out, it will set a major precedent for the dozens of activist groups working independently in each country, said Roslyn Layton, an American Internet economist at Aalborg University in Copenhagen. “Every country defines net neutrality differently. I’ve counted 12 different definitions,” she said.

NATO chief urges Europe to fill drone, aircraft gaps

“In a couple of markets, lead and tin, which look finely balanced at the global level today, European recovery could be the difference that tips these markets into deficit overall.” While not swinging the copper market into deficit, European recovery should help reduce the surplus in the red metal, Hobbs said. Europe is still the world’s No. 2 buyer of industrial metals but its debt crisis and recession have hammered demand for them, with double-digit declines from pre-crisis levels. Copper and steel have posted falls of about a fifth while the steepest decline came in tin, where demand sank by almost 25 percent from 2008 to 2012, Hobbs said. But the euro zone emerged from a 1-1/2-year recession in the second quarter, with growth of 0.3 percent, and German analyst and investor sentiment jumped more than expected in September. [ ID:nL5N0HD1G0 ] “Overall, Europe seems to have reached an important inflection point. The recovery in the euro zone should be sustainable, despite an unimpressive pace and the risk of fresh setbacks,” UBS economist Reinhard Cluse said in a note. PENT-UP DEMAND UBS this week raised its euro zone growth forecast for next year to 1.1 percent from 0.8 percent and expects the area’s industrial output – correlated with base metals performance – to rise 1.9 percent next year after falling 1.0 percent in 2013. Demand for metals may undergo a burst of activity as consumers and businesses become more confident about the future. “You’ll go through a period of pain where you don’t replace anything, but over time these assets depreciate so you’ll need to replace them,” said Nic Brown, head of commodities research at Natixis in London. “If you’re a household, you’ve got things like a house, car, white goods, and similarly on the corporate side, I think there will be pent-up demand to replace plants, machinery and vehicles that have gradually aged.” Europe accounts for about 15 percent of global consumption of most industrial metals, with nickel higher at 20 percent and carbon steel lower at 12 percent. Those numbers are based on the metal content of goods made in Europe, but actual demand would be higher after accounting for imports of products containing metals. Macquarie expects the lead market to be balanced next year, but a rise in European demand by 1 percent for the metal mainly used in batteries would mean 15,000 tonnes more consumption, potentially sending the market into deficit. For lead and tin, the average tonnage lost to declining market demand in Europe over the last four years is more than any surplus expected in the global market next year, Hobbs said.

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