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Micro-Currency: In French City Of Nantes, Soon You Can Pay In Nantos

Accelerated by the financial crisis, Europe has seen a trend for small businesses looking to make more cashless exchanges. Nantes is becoming Europe's first major city to experiment with a virtual currency that can be used both businesses and ind

Nantes moving forwards (Pierre Hurtevent)
Nantes moving forwards (Pierre Hurtevent)


NANTES – This city in western French is getting ready to launch its own local currency as a complement to the euro. Though Nantes is following the example of the WIR cooperative bank in Basel, Switzerland, where 60,000 small and medium-sized enterprises are already using a cashless payment system, this will be the first time a large-scale European city is willing to try the experiment with both businesses and individuals.

The measure addresses the increasing importance of non-monetary exchanges between firms, a tendency that is particularly visible in times of financial crisis. By the summer of 2013, businesses that have signed-up for this system will be able to pay or be paid in currency units already nicknamed "Nanto."

Firms won't be able to amass Nantos or to cash them in, and there will be a system of penalties – for companies over a certain negative or positive fixed limit, as the objective is to converge towards a balanced budget. Nantos that aren't spent can be used to finance non-profit organizations.

One of the main goals of the system is to accelerate trade between local companies. Members of the "Nanto zone" will be able to limit the use of cash, thereby reducing cash flow problems and making exchanges easier.

Nantos respond primarily to the needs of small and medium-sized businesses in the services, construction or restoration. The city intends to put public transport companies, car parks and after-school programs in the loop. Contrary to the Swiss WIR bank that limited its action to businesses, Nantes also wants to include individuals in its system, who could then receive additional remuneration and bonuses in Nanto.

Read the full story in French by Emmanuel Guimard

Photo – Pierre Hurtevent

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Why Poland's Break With Ukraine Weakens All Enemies Of Russia — Starting With Poland

Poland’s decision to stop sending weapons to Ukraine is being driven by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party's short-term electoral calculus. Yet the long-term effects on the world stage could deeply undermine the united NATO front against Russia, and the entire Western coalition.

Photo of ​Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Lutsk, Ukraine, on July 9

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Lutsk, Ukraine, on July 9

Bartosz T. Wieliński


WARSAW — Poland has now moved from being the country that was most loudly demanding that arms be sent to Ukraine, to a country that has suddenly announced it was withholding military aid. Even if Poland's actions won't match Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s words, the government has damaged the standing of our country in the region, and in NATO.

“We are no longer providing arms to Ukraine, because we are now arming Poland,” the prime minister declared on Polsat news on Wednesday evening. He didn’t specify which type of arms he was referring to, but his statement was quickly spread on social media by leading figures of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party.

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When news that Poland would be withholding arms to Ukraine made their way to the headlines of the most important international media outlets, no politician from PiS stepped in to refute the prime minister’s statement. Which means that Morawiecki said exactly what he meant to say.

The era of tight Polish-Ukrainian collaboration, militarily and politically, has thus come to an end.

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