Euro News March 6.

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Opinion leaders identify seven pillars for ‘better’ EU action
CIVICO-Europa, an informal group set up by opinion leaders and later supported by politicians, presented today (20 March) a manifesto for the future of Europe, based on “doing much better together”, rather than the traditional way of “doing more”.

The 24-page document entitled The European way for a better future was presented as a contribution to the reflection on the future of the EU, and as an attempt to re-invent the link between citizens and their political leaders.

The group, in which former presidents and prime ministers are included, together with MEPs and intellectuals, was formed on 9 May 2016.

EIB, WEF tell EU to embed social inclusion in economic policy
At a time of rising inequality across Europe, the European Investment Bank and the World Economic Forum have jointly sounded the alarm bell and called for social inclusion to become an organic part of EU economic policy.

“Inclusion can no longer be treated as an afterthought. It is not a luxury. It is a catalyst for growth,” EIB Vice President Andrew McDowell told journalists on Tuesday (21 March), presenting a report which EIB and WEFprepared jointly, with the contribution of Bruegel, a Brussels-based think tank.

Brexit ‘may mean huge loss for EU as global donor’, Parliament report warns

EXCLUSIVE/ Britain’s departure from the EU will challenge the bloc’s role as the world leading aid donor, and could see EU aid shrink by up to 3%, according to an authoritative new study by the European Parliament. The EU is the world’s largest aid donor, and the UK in absolute terms, is the second biggest, giving some $18.7bn. The withdrawal of the UK from the EU by 2019 “may therefore mean a huge loss for the EU as a global donor”, the 40-page report warns.

Indignation grows over Eurogroup chief’s ‘drinks and women’ remarks
Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem on Wednesday (22 March) expressed “regret” over his comments that southern European countries blew their money on “drinks and women” but rejected calls to resign, despite a growing chorus of indignation.

Dijsselbloem faced a firestorm, with Portugal’s prime minister and former Italian premier Matteo Renzi calling for his immediate departure, and the head of the European Parliament condemning the “racist and sexist” remarks.

“I regret it if anyone is offended by the remark. It was direct, and can be explained from strict Dutch, Calvinistic culture, with Dutch directness,” Dijsselbloem said in a statement to AFP.

Brussels eyes EU-wide licence for FinTech startups

The European Commission wants to create a special regime to attract FinTech companies in Europe and help the old continent compete globally on this promising new market, EU sources told The Commission is considering a single EU-wide licence allowing tech companies in the financial services sector to operate across Europe. Part of the plan to boost the burgeoning FinTech sector is the creation of a pan-European “sandbox”, or special regulatory framework, for the whole Union, EURACTIV has learned.

Some of the most advanced countries, including the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Singapore, are already using sandboxes as a way to encourage FinTech startups without swamping them under regulation and paperwork.