EU makes plans to implement crypto capital banking regulations

Tough capital rules for banks holding cryptoassets must be fast-tracked in the European Union’s pending banking law if Europe wants to avoid missing a globally-agreed deadline, the bloc’s executive has said.

The global Basel Committee of banking regulators from the world’s main financial centres has set a January 2025 deadline for implementing capital requirements for banks’ exposures to cryptoassets such as stablecoins and bitcoin.

“For the time being, banks have very low crypto-asset exposures and only a limited involvement in providing crypto-asset-related services,” the European Commission said in an informal discussion paper seen by Reuters.

“Banks have expressed interest in trading crypto-assets on behalf of their clients and to provide crypto-assets-related services.”

Basel’s standards are applied in the EU with a law, and a delay could mean that banks have to wait longer to enter the cryptomarket as separate EU rules for trading cryptoassets come into force in 2024.

To enforce Basel’s crypto rules, the EU could either propose a new law, or expand the banking law it is now finalising as called for by the European Parliament.

Parliament and EU states have equal say on the banking law and are due to start negotiating the final text, which could include the provisions on cryptoassets, the paper said.

This would give banks clarity on their requirements for crypto-asset exposures and would ensure that risks stemming from these are adequately addressed, the Commission paper said.

“From an international perspective, it would also allow the EU to fully align itself with the implementation deadline agreed on at Basel level.”

A separate draft law would not be forthcoming until the end of 2023 at the earliest, the paper said. Parliament goes to the polls mid-2024, making it harder to approve a new law in time for 2025.

The Commission paper also suggests that the bloc’s European Banking Authority (EBA) could coordinate with the EU’s securities watchdog ESMA to ensure that cryptoassets are properly categorised.

Basel has set punitive capital charges on unbacked crypto currencies like bitcoin, and less conservative charges on stablecoins, which are backed by an asset or fiat currency.

It could also be useful to mandate EBA, in cooperation with ESMA, to maintain a list of how existing cryptoassets are categorised, the paper said.


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Monaco Life with Reuters. Photo source: Nick Chong on Unsplash


Monaco, France and Italy discuss the future of marine protection cooperation at 55th RAMOGE meet


Delegates from the tri-country RAMOGE organisation met with new director Laurent Stefanini to discuss the achievements of the past two years and future projects. 

RAMOGE, the intergovernmental cooperation agreement between France, Italy and Monaco for the preservation of the marine environment that has its headquarters in the Principality, met for its 55th meeting on 2nd February.  

The meeting, chaired by Isabelle Rosabrunetto, took stock of the progress made in the 2021 and 2022 years after being able to fully relaunch their programmes following the Covid pandemic.  

These included: a research exploratory mission of deep coastal zones using a boat offered by the Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale (ISPRA), which collected environmental data to help improve conservation efforts in the area; the organisation of a RAMOGEPOL anti-pollution operation in Italy’s Imperia region that also saw the inaugural voyage of the Princess Gabriella, a craft belonging to the Monegasque Maritime and Airport Police Division; and a meeting of prosecutors from the three countries to discuss judicial cooperation in terms of clamping down on major polluters.   

Another high-profile highlight was the roaring success of the RAMOGE Man and the Sea photo competition. Participation was high, with more than 3,300 snaps received from almost 600 photographers of 65 nationalities. The winning photographs are currently on display, until 28th February, on the gates of the Jardin Saint Martin in Monaco. 

The meeting also set the agenda for 2023 and 2024, which will see a working committee dedicated to limiting impact by cruise ships and superyachts created, a report and video awareness campaigns for students and the public launched, and the organisation of a special conference on the protection of local flora and fauna, which will be held on 24th March during Monaco Ocean Week at the Oceanographic Museum.  

Finally, Isabelle Rosabrunetto handed over the reigns of Director General to Laurent Stefanini, who is also the French ambassador to Monaco. Pierre Bouchet from the Monegasque delegation took over the Presidency of the Technical Committee role, succeeding Tiziana Chieruzzi from the Italian representatives.  


Monaco Ocean Week 2023: A focus on action plans and research findings


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Photo credit: M. Dagnino

Obesity: Nearly half of France is overweight, says new study

obesity in france

Obesity in France is on the rise, and the PACA region is not excluded. Here’s the skinny on what the experts say.  

Obesity is a public health problem that’s all too common in today’s western society. In France, the problem appears to be getting worse, according to a new study put out on 20th February by the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM). 

The report says that obesity is on the rise in all age groups, and that in total, 47.3% of French adults are overweight. Of those, 17% are obese. The lines between genders are quite clear, with 36.9% of men and 24% of women falling into the overweight categories. Obesity, however, affects both fairly equally: 17.4% of French women are classed as obese versus 16.7% for men. 

The real concern is that young people are getting consistently fatter, with scientists revealing: “Since 1997, obesity among 18 to 24-year-olds has increased more than four-fold, and by almost three among 25 to 34-year-olds.”  

All of the country is affected, but the prevalence of obesity is highest in Hauts-de-France (22.1%), in Normandy (19.8%) and in Grand-Est (20.2%). The PACA region, with 15.9%, ranks amongst the three lowest in France.  

The link between obesity and socioeconomic situations is evident. The poorer the region, the higher the obesity rates. 

“People are not ‘addicted’ to bad food, but they are encouraged to buy it because it is cheaper,” says INSERM’s Annick Fontbonne. “Good quality food, food that is said to be healthy, is generally more expensive.”  

INSERM notes that the prevalence of excess weight is 51.1% among labourers, 45.3% among salaried employees, 43% among those in intermediate professions and 35% among managers. 

To understand better, obesity is defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health. A body mass index (BMI) over 25 is considered overweight, and over 30 is obese. The causes are complex, but several factors stand out, such as poor diet, lack of exercise, certain health conditions, and behavioural and environmental genetics. 


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Photo source: I. Yunmai for Unsplash

Allergies: French Riviera on red alert for high pollen count

pollen french riviera

Late winter blooms and the pollen from the thousands of cypress trees on the French Riviera are causing havoc for allergy suffers, with the region moving to a red alert.  

The mild winters of the region make it a wonderful place to live, but they also mean that pollens start to spread earlier than in northern climes. In Monaco and the south of France, the biggest culprits at the moment are the plentiful cypress trees, according to France’s National Aerobiological Surveillance Network (RNSA). As of the agency’s last report, Monaco, the Alpes-Maritimes and the Var are on red alert. 

Cypress pollen is particularly known to cause respiratory and eye discomfort, especially on windy, mild and sunny days, which are almost every day in the Mediterranean at this time of year. They remain problematic for several weeks, with the peak period being the end of February in normal years.  

But cypress isn’t the only culprit. Mimosa, alder, hazel, and ash pollens are on the rise, with medium to locally high concentrations, and soon, willows, hornbeams, lichwort and poplars will also begin flowering, carrying a low-level risk to all but people sensitive to these individual plants.  

To keep up to date on allergy risks and pollen data, the RNSA offers a free email alert system that can be signed up for here.

The agency also can be found on social media and via their website:  

Nothing but the return of rain will lessen the pollen count, so for those with allergies, it may be time to speak to a doctor or pharmacist about the best treatment options.  


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Photo source: Alex Jones for Unsplash  

Football: OGC Nice owner Jim Ratcliffe lodges Manchester United bid

INEOS founder and owner of Ligue 1 side OGC Nice Sir Jim Ratcliffe has officially submitted an offer to buy Premier League giants Manchester United, currently owned by the Glazers.

It had been strongly rumoured that the British billionaire and Monaco resident would lodge a bid for the Manchester club. That bid arrived on Friday ahead of the ‘soft deadline’ for offers and was later accompanied by an official press release.

“We would see our role as the long-term custodians of Manchester United on behalf of the fans and the wider community,” began the statement. “We are ambitious and highly competitive and would want to invest in Manchester United to make them the Number One club in the world again.”

Ratcliffe, who is a Manchester United fan, also stated the objective of winning the Champions League with the club. The INEOS owner’s bid is thought to total £4 billion, however, there is competition to buy the iconic Old Trafford club.

The chairman of the Qatar Islamic Bank, Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad bin Jaber Al Thani, is also positioning himself to buy Manchester United and submitted his own debt-free £4.5 billion offer for the club before Friday’s deadline.

Last year, Ratcliffe had his bid for Premier League rivals Chelsea rejected with American businessman Todd Boehly instead taking the reigns at the Stamford Bridge club. The Nice owner will be hoping to avoid being pipped in his bid to purchase a Premier League club again.


Ineos enter bid to acquire Manchester United


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From Hollywood to the French Riviera: Air France to fly direct between LAX and Nice during Cannes Film Festival

lax to nice

Festival partner Air France has announced it will run three special flights between Los Angeles LAX and Nice during the Cannes Film Festival in May.  

To coincide perfectly with the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, which will take place between 16th and 27th May, Air France has revealed plans for three direct flights: two flying out of Los Angeles prior to and during the festival, and a third returning to the City of Angels after the conclusion of the world-renowned movie event.  

On 15th and 22nd May, Flight AF041 will depart Los Angeles at 1.30pm and touch down in Nice Côte d’Azur Airport at 9.30am the following day.  

For the return connection on 29th May, passengers on Flight AF041 will take off from Nice at 1.55pm and land in Los Angeles at 5.05pm.  

Each flight will be aboard an Airbus A350-900; the “new jewel” in the crown of Air France’s long-haul fleet. The aircraft is equipped with 324 seats, including 34 in Business Class, 24 in Premium Economy and 266 in Economy.  

Air France will also operate four connections similar to the LAX and Nice flights, only this time from New York JFK, during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in June. 


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Photo source: Loic Venance / Festival de Cannes