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Jul 21, 2013

Belgium lays aside divisions for a day to swear in king

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Belgium swore in Philippe as its new king on Sunday after his father Albert II abdicated, largely setting aside for one day questions about his ability to bring a divided country together.

Philippe’s investiture came two-and-a-half weeks after King Albert, 79, announced he would abdicate after 20 years on the throne to make way for the 53-year-old crown prince.

Jul 21, 2013

Divided Belgium to swear in new king

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Belgium will swear in a new king on Sunday with festivities but also questions over the political influence of the monarch and the acceptance of Philippe as the king of all Belgians.

The 183-year-old country is split across the middle, with many Dutch speakers seeking greater independence for Flanders in the north and wary of a monarchy seen rooted in the once powerful, but now poorer French-speaking Wallonia in the south.

Jul 17, 2013

Mexican beer duopoly to survive competition deal

BRUSSELS, July 17 (Reuters) – Last week’s settlement to
limit the arrangements by which two big brewers have sewn up
Mexico’s beer market, the world’s sixth largest, is unlikely to
open the door to substantial competition there in the near
future.

After years of complaints from SABMiller, the
world’s second-largest brewer but barely a blip on the Mexican
radar, global leader Anheuser-Busch InBev and
third-ranking Heineken have agreed with regulators to
curb exclusivity deals with Mexican retailers that have secured
them a combined 99 percent of the market through their local
units.

Jun 21, 2013

Belgium’s $1 bln bpost IPO bodes well for UK’s Royal Mail

BRUSSELS, June 21 (Reuters) – Belgium’s postal service bpost
made a robust market debut on Friday, a bullish
signal for Britain as it looks to sell Royal Mail.

Private equity firm CVC raised 812 million euros
($1.07 billion) from selling a 28 percent stake, valuing the
company at 2.9 billion euros.

Jun 19, 2013

Ex-Fortis CEOs fined for misleading markets

BRUSSELS, June 19 (Reuters) – Two ex-chief executives of
former financial services group Fortis were fined by the Belgian
regulator on Wednesday for failing to inform markets properly in
the run-up to the company’s 2008 collapse.

Jean-Paul Votron, Fortis chief from October 2004 to July
2008, said he had received a fine from the regulator, without
saying how much, while Herman Verwilst, Fortis deputy CEO until
he succeeded Votron, was fined 250,000 euros ($334,800).

Jun 15, 2013

France backs EU-U.S. trade talks after culture clash

LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – France cleared the European Union to launch free-trade talks with the United States on Friday after fellow EU members accepted its demand to shield movies and online entertainment from the might of Hollywood and Silicon Valley.

After 12 hours of talks, EU officials announced that the 27 EU trade ministers had finally agreed a negotiating mandate towards what could be the world’s most ambitious trade agreement.

Jun 14, 2013

EU struggles to ease French fears over Hollywood in U.S. trade talks

LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – France was adamant on Friday that it would block an EU free-trade deal with the United States unless its culture was shielded from the might of Hollywood and Silicon Valley.

Paris has refused to join the 26 other EU governments that want talks to start in July, unless television, movies and developing online media are left out of a deal.

Jun 14, 2013

EU seeks to ease French fears over Hollywood in U.S. trade talks

LUXEMBOURG, June 14 (Reuters) – EU states sought to reassure
France on Friday that its culture would be shielded from the
might of Hollywood and Silicon Valley, urging Paris not to block
a free-trade deal with the United States that could boost
transatlantic business.

Paris has refused to join the 26 other EU governments that
want talks to start in July, unless television, movies and
developing online media are left out of a deal.

Jun 13, 2013

EU tries to persuade France to back U.S. free trade talks

LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – The European Union will try to overcome French resistance to free-trade talks with the United States on Friday and keep alive plans for a deal that could boost their struggling economies by dramatically increasing transatlantic business.

Paris, which is trying to shield French-language culture from the global might of Hollywood, has refused to join the 26 other EU governments that want talks to start in July, unless movies and digital media are left out of any deal.

Jun 13, 2013

Analysis: Cows block path toward Canada-EU free trade deal

WINNIPEG, Manitoba/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Salvaging a free-trade deal between Canada and the European Union after four years of talks will require skillful pasture politicking to pacify beef and dairy cow farmers who see more risk than opportunity.

The difficulties underline how challenging bilateral and regional trade deals are to reach, and how groups like farmers can punch above their weight.

    • About Phil

      "I am responsible for Reuters news out of Belgium and Luxembourg, which has led to many long nights outside parliament in Brussels awaiting news of fraught coalition talks and state bailouts of Belgian banks. I have previously worked in London, Amsterdam, where my work included consumer electronics group Philips and the Lockerbie trial, and Berlin, where I covered the Hamburg trials of suspected September 11 conspirators."
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