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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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First It Was Poland's Farmers — Now Truckers Are Protesting Ukraine's Special Status

For the past month, Poland has been blocking off its border checkpoints to Ukrainian trucks, leaving many in days-long lines. It's a commercial and economic showdown, but it's about much more.

Photogrqph of a line of trucks queued in the  Korczowa - border crossing​

November 27, 2023, Medyka: Trucks stand in a queue to cross the border in Korczowa as Polish farmers strike and block truck transport in Korczowa - border crossing

Dominika Zarzycka/ZUMA
Katarzyna Skiba

Since November 6, Polish truckers have blocked border crossing points with Ukraine, citing unfair advantages given to the Ukrainian market, and demanding greater support from the European Union.

With lines that now stretch for up to 40 kilometers (25 miles), thousands of Ukrainian truckers must now wait an average of about four days in ever colder weather to cross the border, sometimes with the help of the Polish police. At least two Ukrainian truck drivers have died while waiting for passage into Poland.

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The round-the-clock blockade is being manned by Polish trucking unions who claim that Ukrainian trucking companies, which offer a cheaper rate, have been transporting goods across Europe, rather than between Poland and Ukraine. Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion, Ukrainian truckers have been exempt from the permits once required to cross the border.

Now, Polish truckers are demanding that their government reintroduce entry permits for Ukrainian lorries, with exceptions for military and humanitarian aid from Europe. For the moment, those trucks are being let through the blockade, which currently affects four out of Ukraine’s eight border crossings with Poland.

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