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Euro currency marks 20th anniversary

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The single European currency will celebrate its 20th anniversary on Tuesday.

The euro was born on 1 January, 1999. The euro initially existed only as a virtual currency used in accounting and financial transactions. It became a physical reality for Europeans three years later, and its coins and notes are now used by over 340 million people in 19 European Union countries.

The currency wasn’t immediately loved, with many perceiving its arrival as an unwelcome price hike. In Germany, it was nicknamed the “teuro”, a pun on the German word for expensive.
But the ease of travelling and doing business across borders in the euro area without having to worry about foreign exchange fluctuations quickly won hearts and minds.

Today the euro is more popular than ever despite the rise of eurosceptic, populist movements in a slew of countries.

The euro is now the world’s number-two currency, though it remains some way off from challenging the dominance of the US dollar.

The euro reached a defining moment when the aftershocks of the 2008 financial crisis triggered a eurozone debt crisis that culminated in bailouts of several countries, pushing the currency union to breaking point and severely testing the club’s unity.

Experts say the turbulent time exposed the original flaws of the euro project, including the lack of fiscal solidarity through the pooling of debt, investments and therefore risks, or the lack of a lender of last resort.

“Europeans have benefited from the convenience, stability and security of the euro for 20 years. Although many citizens today have never known any other currency or have forgotten what life was like before, popular support for the common currency continues to grow,” the European Commission says on its website.

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Economy

Three-day visit of Japan’s business delegation

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Prime Minister Zoran Zaev on Monday night hosted a reception and dinner for Japanese State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Yoshihiro Seki, who spearheads his country’s business delegation on a three-day visit to North Macedonia.

The visit of Japan’s delegation will include a series of bilateral meetings with host-country officials and members of economic team led by Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, Kocho Angjushev, Finance Minister Dragan Tevdovski, and Minister without Portfolio in charge of foreign investments, Zorica Apostolska.

The second part of the visit of the Japanese business delegation will include a tour of  the Directorate for Technological-Industrial Development Zones, and a tour of Bunardzik Zone 1 and 2, followed by a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister in charge of Economic Affairs Koco Angjushev and the minister without portfolio in charge of foreign investments, Zorica Apostolska.

At the meeting, PM Zaev and Minister Seki discussed investment opportunities and modalities to attract foreign direct investments in North Macedonia. Zaev stressed that this year marks the 25th anniversary of formal diplomatic ties between the two countries.

“We attach great importance to economic cooperation with Japan. It is first time we host a business delegation to our country. I am pleased that you recognize our country as a stable business destination and that you are here to explore investment opportunities,” Zaev told his guest.

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Economy

Japan’s business delegation arrives in Skopje for 3-day visit

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Japanese business delegation, led by State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Yoshihiro Seki, kicked off a three-day visit to North Macedonia.

On this occasion, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev will stage a reception and dinner for Minister Seki and business delegation of Japan, including a series of bilateral meetings with ministers and dignitaries – members of economic team led by Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, Kocho Angjushev, Finance Minister Dragan Tevdovski, and Minister without Portfolio in charge of foreign investments, Zorica Apostolska.

The second part of the visit of the Japanese business delegation will include a tour of  the Directorate for Technological-Industrial Development Zones, and a tour of Bunardzik Zone 1 and 2, followed by a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister in charge of Economic Affairs Koco Angjushev and the minister without portfolio in charge of foreign investments, Zorica Apostolska.

The two will present the country’s investment opportunities and policies to attract foreign direct investments in North Macedonia.

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Economy

Ford to cut 7,000 white-collar jobs by August

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Ford Motor said Monday that it is laying off about 7,000 managers and other salaried employees about 10% of its white-collar workforce across the world, as part of a restructuring plan designed to save the automaker $600 million annually.

The company said it would lay off 500 employees in the United States this week and an unspecified number over the next several weeks as part of a broader plan to shrink its salaried ranks by 7,000 people, or 10 percent, with the sharpest cuts at higher ranks.

Including jobs cut earlier this year, a total of 800 jobs in the United States will be cut by August, the company said.

“Consistent with our goal to reduce bureaucracy, we will have reduced management structure by close to 20 percent,” Ford’s chief executive, Jim Hackett, said in an email to employees. “This will result in annual savings of about $600 million.”

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