France and Germany to propose bitcoin regulations

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire (R) addresses a joint press conference with Germany's interim Finance Minister Peter Altmaier following their meeting at the Economy Ministry in Paris on January 18, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 18 January 2018
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France and Germany to propose bitcoin regulations

PARIS: France and Germany said Thursday plan to make a joint proposal on regulating bitcoin at a meeting of finance ministers from the G20 countries in March.
“We have the same concerns and we share the goal of regulating bitcoin,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said at a joint press conference with his German counterpart Peter Altmaier.
Le Maire has tasked a former deputy governor of the Bank of France to come up with proposals.
“These proposals on regulation will be submitted as joint French-German position to our G20 counterparts” at their mid-March meeting in Buenos Aires.
The Group of 20 club of nations, which was born during the 2008 financial crisis, has focused on the global economy.
For his part, Altmaier said “we have a responsibility to our citizens to explain the risks and reduce the risks by regulations which are needed.”
Their promise to develop regulations came a day after a sharp drop in the value of bitcoin, which fell through the $10,000 level for the first time since November after authorities in China and South Korea cracked down on cryptocurrencies.


Flight rights group takes Ryanair to court over strike compensation

Updated 26 min 22 sec ago
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Flight rights group takes Ryanair to court over strike compensation

  • Ryanair had to cancel around 1 in 6 flights last week due to a walk-out by pilots in five European countries
  • The disruption affected 55,000 travelers

BERLIN: German passenger rights company Flightright is taking Ryanair to court over whether it should pay financial compensation to passengers affected by strikes at Europe’s largest low-cost carrier.
Ryanair had to cancel around 1 in 6 flights on Friday due to a walk-out by pilots in five European countries, disrupting an estimated 55,000 travelers.
The worst affected country was Germany, where 250 flights affected around 42,000 passengers.
EU rules state that passengers can claim monetary compensation of up to €400 for flights within the region for canceled or delayed flights, unless the reason is extraordinary circumstances, such as bad weather.
Strikes have generally fallen under extraordinary circumstances although a ruling by the European Court of Justice in April said that a wildcat strike by staff at German airline TUIfly following a restructuring could not be classed as extraordinary circumstances. Flightright said it believes Ryanair is therefore obliged to pay monetary compensation to customers and so has filed a complaint with a court in Frankfurt in a bid to clarify the rules around strikes.
A spokeswoman for the court said she was aware of the Flightright statement, but that she had not yet seen the complaint.
Ryanair said it fully complies with the European legislation on the matter, known as EU261.
“Under EU261 legislation, no compensation is payable when the union is acting unreasonably and totally beyond the airline’s control. If this was within our control, there would be no cancelations,” a spokesman said.
Passenger rights groups such as Flightright help passengers to claim compensation from airlines under EU261 rules but in exchange for a share of the compensation received.
Many European airlines, including Ryanair, therefore urge passengers to file claims with them directly instead.