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Author Archives: Freek van der Hulst

Freek van der Hulst

Freek van der Hulst is a MSc Economics student. He is mainly interested in the synergy between economics and technology and how it could benefit society.

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Google, Android and antitrust charges: what’s the deal?

Last week, the European Commission (EC) announced that it is expanding its battle with Google, alleging the company of abusive behavior by giving a preferential treatment to its own apps in its mobile operating system Android, thereby restricting consumer choice and distorting the innovation process. It is not the first time that the EC goes after a tech giant: three years ago, Microsoft was fined 561 million Euros after it failed to promote other web browsers, rather than just Internet Explorer, after a long dispute with the Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition. Does Google face a similar battle?

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On the road to an Energy Union – can it deliver its promise?

In light of recent political and economic challenges, such as the issues of energy security and climate change, EU leaders have been pleading in the past few years for a true European energy policy, which is now slowly taking shape with the introduction of the so-called ‘Energy Union’. In February last year, the European Commission outlined its plans for this overarching framework, aiming on creating a single energy market in the EU. Now, almost a year later, the obvious question arises: what progress has been made? And is there much appetite among member states for such a union?

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Greece and the Euro crisis: a look back at the summer of 2015

Many things happened in the last year in the world that were of interest for (would-be) economists. While Europe is currently facing a serious migrant crisis, only six months ago, a whole different crisis was evolving, and an exit of Greece from the eurozone could barely be prevented. According to many involved and as pointed out in a report that was recently broadcasted by Nieuwsuur, Yanis Varoufakis, who participated in the negotiations between the Greek government and the Eurogroup as the then former finance minister of Greece, played a distinct role in the exhausting talks between both parties.

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Piketty: ‘Tax flyers to finance climate change adaptation’

During the 2015 Paris Climate Conference that will be held on 7-8 December, where nations will aim on achieving a universal agreement on climate, one of the things on the agenda is the issue of climate finance. In 2010, when a conference was held in Cancún, Mexico, developed countries agreed on mobilizing up to €25 bln. over the period 2010-2012 to help developing countries in the fight against drought, flooding and other consequences of global warming. In the light of increasing climate funds, the famous French economist Thomas Piketty now proposes a progressive tax system that targets high-polluting individuals rather than countries.

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Working at Priogen: what is it like?

During the last edition of the Inside the Business Day, organized by Asset | Economics, one of the attending companies was Priogen, an energy trading company that is located in Amsterdam. Since 2009, Priogen trades in European electricity and natural gas. Besides that, it is active in sourcing and optimizing. We spoke with one of its employees that presented the case, Anna-Maria Zografou, who is an alumna at Tilburg University after obtaining her Master’s degree in Quantitative Finance and Actuarial Science.

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Sustainable Development and the Need for Data Collection

Just before its 70th birthday, at September 25, the United Nations will host a summit to adapt an ambitious post-2015 agenda that includes the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Broadly seen, the SDGs are about fighting poverty, improving health and combating climate change. The progress that has already been made in these areas can be partly attributed to a recent shift in the development approach. While “wicked” problems like poverty and global warming are notoriously difficult to solve and can therefore lead to narrow thinking, the main consensus these days is that these sort of challenges are not merely of economic, social or environmental nature anymore – another reason why proper data collection is so important in today’s world.

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The Uber Economy

Since its launch in 2009, the transportation service company Uber has made a quick international expansion, reaching almost 3 billion in total funding by the start of 2015. Despite its contribution to the so-called “sharing economy”, it has been heavily criticized by governments and taxi companies. New companies like Uber are often accused of destroying the value created in the formal economy and contributing to the destruction of many full-time jobs. Only two weeks ago, hundreds of French taxi drivers blocked the ring road of Paris to protest against the “unfair” competition from the Californian-based company.

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Euro-rage: anti-austerity riots against the ECB

Last week, during the opening of its new 1.3 billion euros headquarters building in Frankfurt, violent protests broke out outside the offices of the European Central Bank (ECB). Hundreds of protestors were detained, after police cars were set on fire and windows were shattered. The demonstration, which was organized by the anti-capitalist movement “Blockupy”, was aimed at the so-called “troika”, consisting of the ECB, the IMF and the European Commission. It is responsible for imposing and monitoring the austerity program that should solve the Greek government debt crisis.