Who is likely to win? Until recently, Merkel and her coalition allies had a clear lead in opinion polls, but support for her party and the FDP has fallen. If the FDP drops below the 5% threshold needed to win seats in parliament, Merkel will lose her preferred coalition partner. Analysts say a repeat of the 2005-2009 coalition with the Social Democrats is now the most likely outcome of Sunday’s vote, particularly if the new anti-euro party AfD makes a breakthrough. Related: Could euroskeptics spoil Angela Merkel’s election party What’s at stake in Europe? With the recession over and markets calmer, the pace of EU policy making has eased. But big challenges remain for a region still facing slow growth, record unemployment , an aging population and rising debt . Greece needs more help and Portugal might need a second bailout. What’s more, progress on repairing the European banking system, which is critical to unfreezing credit markets and restoring long-term economic health, has slowed. Germany, of course, will remain the central player in deciding the future of Europe’s crisis response, including rescues and closer cooperation between euro zone states on issues like a banking union. But European policy is unlikely to change if Merkel continues to govern with the FDP. And even if she’s forced into a grand coalition, any shift is likely to be very subtle. Related: Greece joining euro was a mistake: Merkel While the Social Democrats have taken a softer tone on austerity , they have backed Merkel on all the big European decisions during the crisis. “The power and willingness of the SPD to cause an overhaul in euro-politics from the German side is very limited,” noted BNP Paribas economist Evelyn Hermann. Merkel: Europe has lived beyond its means What about the German economy?
The company released a study Wednesday that shows how more and more cables are connecting in Europe because of the availability of large exchanges such as the Amsterdam and Frankfurt Internet exchanges. From the story: Europe is an attractive Internet hub because it is home to many large carriers and major Internet exchanges, and IP transit prices are among the lowest in the world, said TeleGeography analyst Paul Brodsky. New cable builds in Africa and the Middle East have enabled international operators to access inexpensive IP transit directly in European cities instead of connecting much further to the U.S. Subscribe to gigaom.com Overall the growth of global bandwidth is slowing, but operators still are adding 26 Tbps of capacity this year, more than even existed in 2009. But as the growth slows, the center of the bandwidth universe is shifting. International internet capacity connected to Europe increased by 18.5 Tbps in 2013, growing most rapidly between Europe and Africa. Europe now accounts for 94 percent of international internet bandwidth connected to North Africa, up from 61 percent ten years ago, and 72 percent of bandwidth connected to Sub-Saharan Africa, up from 39 percent a decade ago. Growth in European connectivity is equally sharp for the Middle East, which has seen its bandwidth connected to Europe increase from 51 percent to 85 percent in the past ten years. So Europe is in the right place for internet growth in the rest of the world, but its prices for transit are also lower because so many providers connect at internet exchange points on the continent. That competition between IXPs tends to lead to lower pricing. Related research and analysis from GigaOM Pro:
Summit Europe, Singularity University’s First Public Event, Coming November 15-16 To Budapest
Is he right? Are many European stocks undervalued? Thats what Wall Street legend Byron Wien, Vice Chairman of Blackston Advisory Partner, says. In an interview with CNBCs Closing Bell on Tuesday, he said: I think a number of European stocks are cheap. In the adversity that Europe has experienced in the past year and a half there have been a number of cheap stocks that have popped up. So I think there are opportunities there. (Watch the whole thing: Maria Bartiromo interviews Byron Wien ) As noted in a previous Talking Numbers segment , European stocks have underperformed the United States S&P 500 index: Index Dow Jones Euro Stoxx Index (in euro terms) 10.4% In fact, the S&P 500 was beating the major European indices even before yesterdays news that the Fed would not taper its $85 billion per month bond-buying program. The Fed news means interest rates arent likely to rise as soon as many had expected, thus sending US stocks into record territory. (Watch: Europe stocks trim gains but close higher ) But, is Wien right that European stocks are a buy? Looking at whats next for the Continent is CNBC contributor Gina Sanchez, founder of Chantico Global. Sanchez says she likes the fundamentals. I think that Europes a good place to be right now. I went very positive on Europe about two months ago, says Sanchez.
Byron Wien: Why Europe is cheap
This special two-day program will play host to a theater of 800 to be held at the historic Franz Liszt Academy of Music and will profile some of Singularity Universitys most in-demand faculty, including co-founder Ray Kurzweil. The program aims to stimulate an awareness and discussion among the public of the global impact that exponential technologies will have in shaping our future whether youre an executive, policy maker or entrepreneur. A preview of the event is highlighted in the following video: Over the course of the program, participants will gain a deeper understanding of the robotics revolution, the security challenges of an increasing digital world, the future of energy, innovations in biotech and medicine that are transforming the role of physicians, and the resulting impact on ethics, society, the economy, and the regulatory environment. Participants will understand what these changes mean for future business opportunities in Europe and beyond. Furthermore, a showcase of the breakthrough startups accelerated at Singularity University Labs will highlight the entrepreneurs and innovators working to improve the lives of billions around the world. In parallel, free design and technology workshops (open to the public) will also be held in downtown Budapest that will host hands-on workshops for kids including topics related to robotics, strawberry DNA and the tools of 3D printing. Even though the Summit isnt until November, the excitement surrounding the event is already building. Last Thursday in Budapest, Singularity University held a launch party for the Summit Europe hosted by the Commercial Section of the U.S. Embassy in Budapest. U.S. Commercial Counselor, Robert Peaslee, was in attendance with a host of regional organizations to celebrate Singularity Universitys 5th anniversary and the upcoming November event. This is an incredible opportunity to join innovators, executives, and policy makers to understand the opportunities presented by the defining technologies of our age. Bringing Singularity University to Budapest has been spearheaded by a passionate team of alumni; they includeSummit Europes Founding Directors Botond Bognar and Csaba Szabo, both part of SUs Ambassador program in Europe, in conjunction with Ann Rogan, Director of Global Development at SU. To learn more about Summit Europe, you can download the brochure , view the Summit Europe website , or register through the Summits designated portal .