Map: A Visual Guide To Europe’s Member States
EU, NATO, and Schengen, oh my!
Amidst whispers of Brexit and potential changes within NATO, you might be wondering how these organizations fit into the big picture of Europe’s member states.
Europe has members in at least four major treaty groups, each of which governs a different aspect of the region’s infrastructure.
Let’s break down each group:
European Union (EU)
The European Union is primarily a political organization. It promotes economic, social, and political cooperation among its member states, encompassing more than 510 million citizens. The last nation to join was Croatia in 2013, while the United Kingdom will be the first to officially withdraw on March 29, 2019.
The EU is governed according to a supranational parliamentary system, with representatives elected by member states. The union maintains common policies on trade, agriculture, and regional development. It also enacts legislation on justice and home affairs, ensuring the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital within its borders.
The EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 for its contribution to the “advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy, and human rights in Europe.”
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
NATO is a military alliance between the United States, Canada, Turkey, and 26 other European countries.
Established in 1949 as a response to post-WW2 Soviet aggression, NATO exists for the collective defense and security of the group. Members share few laws and regulations, but an attack on one constitutes an attack on all, and member states are obligated to act in defense of one another.
Iceland remains the only member without armed forces. Their strategic geographic location earned them a spot as a founding member of NATO, but they have no standing army and joined on the condition they would never need to establish one.
The Eurozone is a monetary union of 19 EU nations which have adopted the Euro as their common currency.
Established in 1999 to control inflation, the Eurozone is managed by a board of central banks, but members share no fiscal policies. The remaining EU members are obliged to adopt the Euro at some point in the future, except for the UK and Denmark, who are exempt and permitted to retain a unique currency.
The Euro is also used in a number of non-EU states. Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City obtained formal agreements to issue and use their own Euro coins. Kosovo and Montenegro also adopted the Euro, but without formal permission, meaning they cannot legally issue currency.
This grouping of 26 European states abolished passports and other types of border control at their mutual borders in 1995. For travel purposes, Schengen states function as a single country with a common visa policy.
This visa doesn’t cover residency or work permits, but allows tourists and visitors to obtain a single visa for the entire area, making border restrictions virtually non-existent. While travellers face stringent controls when entering or leaving the Schengen zones, visa holders can pass between Schengen countries without a passport or ID.
Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City are not formally part of Schengen, but maintain open borders within the Schengen area.
The map of Europe’s member states has changed constantly over thousands of years. As political shakeups continue and the United Kingdom prepares for their exit from the EU, it might be interesting to see how different this map looks a few years from now.
The $300 Billion Counterfeit Goods Problem, and How It Hurts Brands
Every year, the global economy loses over $300 billion from the sale of counterfeit goods. Here are the problems created by this, and why they matter.
When you are walking along the boardwalk on vacation, you know it’s a “buyer beware” type of situation when you buy directly from a street vendor.
Those Cuban cigars are probably not Cubans, the Louis Vuitton bag is a cheap replica, and the Versace sunglasses too cheap to be the real thing.
But what if you placed an order for something you thought was truly legitimate, and the fake brand had you fooled? What if this imitation product fell apart in a week, short-circuited, or even caused you direct harm?
Can you Spot a Fake?
Today’s infographic comes to us from Best Choice Reviews, and it highlights facts and figures around counterfeit goods that are passed off as quality brands, and how this type of activity damages consumers, businesses, and the wider economy.
In 2018, counterfeit goods caused roughly $323 billion of damage to the global economy.
These fake products, which pretend to by genuine by using similar design and packaging elements, are not only damaging to the reputations of real brands – they also lead to massive issues for consumers, including the possibility of injury or death.
A Surprisingly Widespread Issue
While it’s easy to downplay the issue of fake goods, it turns out that the data is pretty clear on the subject – and counterfeit goods are finding their way into consumer hands in all sorts of ways.
More than 25% of consumers have unwillingly purchased non-genuine goods online – and according to a test by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, it was found that two of every five brand name products they bought online (through 3rd party retailers) were counterfeits.
Some of the most common knockoff goods were as follows:
- Makeup – 32%
- Skincare – 25%
- Supplements – 22%
- Medication – 16%
- Economic Impact
On a macro scale, the sale of counterfeit goods can snowball into other issues. For example, U.S. accusations of Chinese manufacturers for stealing and reproducing intellectual property has been a major driver of tariff action.
- Unsecure Information
Counterfeit merchants present higher risks for credit card fraud or identity theft, while illegal download sites can host malware that steals personal information
- Criminal Activity
Funds from illicit goods can also be used to help bankroll other illegal activities, such as extortion or terrorism.
- Unsafe Problems
It was found that 99% of all fake iPhone chargers failed to pass critical safety tests – and 10% of medical products are counterfeits in developing countries, which can raise the risk of illness or even death.
Aside from the direct impact on consumers and brands themselves, why does this matter?
The Importance of Spotting Fakes
Outside of the obvious implications, counterfeit activity can open up the door to bigger challenges as well.
The issue of fake goods is not only surprisingly widespread in the online era, but the imitation of legitimate brands can also be a catalyst for more serious problems.
As a consumer, there are several things you can do to increase the confidence in your purchases, and it all adds up to make a difference.
The Reputational Risks That CEOs are Most Worried About
It takes decades to earn a reputation, and just one mistake to ruin it. Here’s what business leaders see as the biggest reputational risks.
The Reputational Risks That CEOs are Most Worried About
View the full-size version of the infographic by clicking here
Building an enduring business isn’t easy work.
It can take decades to earn trust and respect in a given market, and it only takes one terrible miscue to unravel all of that goodwill.
As a result, it’s no surprise that the world’s best CEOs think a lot about evaluating these kinds of risks. So what do executives see as being the biggest reputational risks lingering over the next 12 months for their businesses?
Today’s infographic comes to us from Raconteur, and it breaks down the near-term reputational risks seen by CEOs as based on research by Deloitte.
The concerns highlighted in the survey fall into three major categories:
- Security risks: including physical and cyber breaches (41%)
- Supply chain: risks arising from extended enterprise and key partners (37%)
- Crisis response capabilities: how the organization deals with crises (35%)
Let’s dive a little deeper, to see why these broad areas are such a concern.
As more people work remotely, CEOs see a rising risk stemming from data breaches.
Although 89% of the C-suite believes that employees will do everything they can do to safeguard information, about 22% say their employees aren’t aware of offsite data policies. The devices most at risk, according to this group, are company mobile phones (50%), company laptops (45%) and USB storage devices (41%).
Supply Chain Risk
When it comes to maintaining the quality of your product or service, it’s not optimal to be reliant on third-parties.
However, it’s also unlikely for companies to be fully vertically integrated – somewhere along the way, you need to get raw materials from a supplier, or you need to rely on a logistics company to deliver your goods to market. The more borders that need to be crossed, and the further an item has to go, the more complicated it all gets.
In terms of supply chain risk, CEOs are mostly concerned about government action (or inaction): uncertainty about policy, over-regulation, trade conflicts, geopolitical uncertainty, and protectionism were all items that registered high on the list.
It pays to be prepared when it comes to crises.
The only problem? It would seem the data that C-level execs need to make emergency decisions is not up to snuff. For example, 95% of CEOs see customer and client data as being necessary in such a situation, but only 15% of companies are successfully collecting such data.
The same gap seems to occur when it comes to other types of data, including brand reputation data, financial forecasts and projections, employee needs and views, industry peer benchmarking, and supply chain data.
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