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Maastricht Treaty

An international agreement that led to the formation of the European Union

Written by

Andrew Loo

Published June 19, 2023

Updated February 8, 2023

What is the Maastricht Treaty?

The Treaty of the European Union (EU), which is commonly known as the Maastricht Treaty, is the international agreement that led to the formation of the European Union. The treaty was signed in 1991 by twelve member states and became effective in 1993.

The EU is essentially a political and economic bloc. The political aims broadly include shared European citizenship and the upholding of liberal democratic values. The economic aims broadly include the establishment of a free trade zone and an economic cooperation zone.

Key Highlights

The Treaty of the European Union (EU), which is commonly known as the Maastricht Treaty, is the international agreement that led to the formation of the European Union.

The treaty set forth certain criteria to be followed by all member states for the fulfillment of the goals of a political and economic union.

EU Membership

The Maastricht Treaty required each member state to vote to approve the formation of the European Union. It was signed into effect on February 7, 1992, and it’s been amended with several other treaties that dictate the functioning of the European Union over the years.

The original twelve member states of the EU were West Germany, Denmark, Ireland, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, France, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Greece, Portugal, and Spain. As of 2023, the European Union lists a total of 28 members.

The Euro is the official currency of 19 countries in the European Union. It means that the European Central Bank (ECB) sets the monetary policy and print the single common currency for the member countries.

Once the EU was formed, every national of each of the member states was granted citizenship of the European Union. It meant the freedom of movement, residence, and the right to contest in local and EU elections.

The European Monetary Union

The European Monetary System, which was created in 1979, aimed to promote monetary stability among all its member nations as its primary goal. Later on, the creation of the European Monetary Union (EMU), aimed to solidify the goal into a reality, especially with a common currency.

The Maastricht Treaty set forth certain criteria to be followed by all member states for the fulfillment of the same. They needed to consider the problems of the disparities among real exchange rate convergences of the member states, and more importantly, the difference in fiscal imbalances of the members. Thus, for the convergence of the economies, the following goals were set:

1. Price stability

The inflation rate of any member state cannot exceed by a set variable inflation rate of the three countries with the lowest inflation rates in the region. The set variable was an inflation rate of 1.5% as measured by the Consumer Price Index.

2. Reasonable and responsible interest rates

The long-term interest rates of each state cannot exceed by a set variable, the average inflation levels in the three countries with the lowest inflation levels in the region. The variable was set to 2%.

3. Sustainable and responsible public finance

The general budget deficit of each member state may not exceed more than 3% of the gross domestic product. Moreover, the total government debt of the country must not exceed 60% of the gross domestic product.

It was important because even though the ECB would take hold of monetary policy in member states, sovereign states would still be autonomous in relation to fiscal policy.

4. Stable exchange rates

The currencies of all member states must remain in the normal fluctuation margin.

The formation of the EMU created a common monetary and economic union, a central banking system, and gave its members a common currency.

In 1998, the ECB was created. It means that the conversion rates between the currencies of member states were fixed as a prelude to the euro, which began circulating in 2002. The main aim of the ECB is to maintain price stability in the region, i.e., to safeguard the euro’s value.

The formation of the eurozone led to increased cooperation between member states as it enabled the free movement of capital. It also led to increased cooperation between the central banks of member states and the ECB, which now dictates monetary policy to all members.

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European Economic And Monetary Union (Emu)

European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU)

Coordinates the economic and fiscal policymaking of the 19 European Union (EU) member states

Written by

CFI Team

Published December 21, 2023

Updated July 7, 2023

What is the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU)?

The European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) integrates the economies of the 19 European Union (EU) member states through a group of economic and monetary policies. All the EU states are in the economic union, but not all are in the monetary union, i.e., Bulgaria, Poland, Denmark, and the UK. EMU was launched in 1992 to improve economic stability and provide strong and sustainable growth in the region.

Summary

The European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) integrates the economies of its member states through the coordination of their economic and fiscal policymaking and a common monetary policy with a common currency – the euro.

The Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) coordinates the fiscal policies across member states through government deficit and debt limitations.

The EMU was established to improve economic stability and provide strong and sustainable growth.

Understanding the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU)

The Economic and Monetary Union is a step that the EU took to further integrate the economic markets of the member states. The EMU countries coordinate their economic and fiscal policymaking initiatives and share a common monetary policy with a common currency – the euro.

The fiscal policies are coordinated mainly through government deficit and debt limitations under the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP). According to the SGP, government deficits must be limited to below 3% of GDP, and government debts must be less than 60% of GDP.

The monetary policy and euro are managed by the European Central Bank (ECB) and national central banks, with a medium-term inflation target of close to but below 2% across the eurozone. The 2% inflation rate is considered to be optimal for economic growth and employment rate.

The monetary policy decision-making is independent of outside influence. The countries that are members of the EU but not within the eurozone coordinate their monetary policy with the ECB.

Organizational Structure of EMU

There are seven major actors responsible for the economic governance in the EMU as listed below:

The European Council is responsible for setting the policy orientations.

The Council of the EU (a.k.a. the Council) negotiates and adopts EU laws, as well as coordinates policies together with the European Parliament.

The Eurogroup coordinates the policy of currency and the common interest across the eurozone member states.

The Member States set their own budgets and structure policies while following the coordinated deficit and debt limits.

The European Commission is responsible for performance and compliance monitoring.

The ECB is the central supervisor of the financial institutions within the eurozone. As mentioned above, it sets the monetary policy with the primary objective of price stability.

The European Parliament formulate legislation and establish budgets together with the Council. It is also responsible for the democratic scrutiny of all EU institutions.

Under the monetary and fiscal policies coordinated, adopted, and monitored by the institutions, the EMU facilitates the member states with economic stability and a more effective single market.

History of the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU)

The EU started to dream about establishing a system with a common economic policy and currency in the late 1960s. However, it’s been a complex process to develop such a system. The history of EMU can be divided into three stages, starting from 1990.

The first stage was from 1990 to 1993. During the initial stage, the completion of the EMU was officially set as a formal objective with a group of economic convergence criteria regarding the inflation rate, interest rate, and exchange rate.

At the second stage, from 1994 to 1998, details of the new currency – the euro – were set. The European Monetary Institute was established to manage the cooperation of monetary policy across the national banks of member states. The role of the institute was then taken over by ECB later. The SGP was also established and adopted at this stage.

The third stage started in 1999, with the official launch of the euro and a common monetary policy. Greece, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta, Slovakia, and other European countries started to join the EMU.

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Gauging The ‘Ripple’ Effects As Xrp Surges, Flips Bnb

XRP became the fourth-largest cryptocurrency in terms of market cap.

The 24-hour volume exceeded $9.5 billion but traders may need to watch out for a cool-off period.

A few hours after the New York Southern District court ruled in favor of Ripple [XRP], the token’s price exploded. According to CoinMarketCap, XRP climbed by almost 90%, tapping $0.88 in the process.

Is your portfolio green? Check out the Ripple Profit Calculator

The case, which began in 2023, may not have come to an end. But the fact that the judgment noted that XRP was not a security seemed like a step in the right direction for Ripple. 

However, XRP’s reaction to the development did not end with its price action. 

XRP rules over USDC, BNB

Rather, the token’s market cap, which stood at sixth place before the announcement, surpassed Circle [USDC] and Binance Coin [BNB]. At press time, XRP’s market cap almost doubled to $42.93 billion. 

The rise in the market cap means that a lot of XRP was in circulation thanks to the price increase. Following the news, whale transactions on the Ripple network hit their highest all year long. 

According to Santiment, the number of $1 million XPR transactions went as high as 90 on 13 July. On the same day, $100,000 XRP transactions rose to 872. This marked the highest the token had seen in the whole of 2023. That, in turn, resulted in a 1233% volume hike.

However, Santiment’s insight into the Ripple network showed that a number of market participants could have been prepared for D-day. The on-chain analytic platform revealed that addresses that hold between 100,000 to 10 million tokens accumulated 837.81 million XRP since 6 May.

This implies that the cohort had substantial confidence that the ruling would be in XRP’s favor long before the ruling. Besides the activity on-chain, Coinbase announced that it would re-enable XRP trading on its platform.

Socially trading on the prodigal exchange

In November 2023, the exchange announced that it was delisting XRP alongside a few other tokens. At that time, Coinbase highlighted “low usage” as its reason for the decision. 

But less than an hour after the ruling, the exchange announced that the token would be available for trading almost immediately.

Update: Trading is now expected to begin in ~45 minutes, on or after 1:45 PT today, if liquidity conditions are met.

— Coinbase Assets 🛡️ (@CoinbaseAssets) July 13, 2023

However, Coinbase was not the only exchange positively affected by the judge’s ruling. According to CoinMarketCap, the XRP/KRW pair had the highest trading volume on South Korean’s exchange Upbit.

At press time, the volume was as high as 2.31 billion. This hike represents higher liquidity into XRP while enabling strength behind its price action. 

In between all of this, XRP’s funding rate maintained a positive reading. Typically, the funding rate shows the periodic amounts paid between short and long traders with open perpetual contracts.

When the funding rate is negative, it means that the larger sentiment is bearish. In this case, short traders pay a funding fee to longs. But since XRP’s funding rate was positive, it implied that traders were mostly bullish and long positions dominated.

Another area where XPR excelled after the judgment was LunarCrush’s Altrank. Designed to access a cryptocurrency’s traction and social engagement, the Altrank compares the performance of an altcoin relative to Bitcoin [BTC].

$XRP has hit the #1 LunarCrush AltRank™ with top combined social and market activity today across the entire crypto market.

The news? A US judge has ruled that #XRP is NOT a security.

— LunarCrush (@LunarCrush) July 13, 2023

Therefore, hitting the top spot meant that no other altcoin matched XRP’s dominance in market and social activity. 

Careful! Is this the top?

Perhaps, it is necessary to also consider the rate of returns since the price spike. So, in doing this, we look at the Market Value to Realized Value (MVRV) ratio. At press time, the seven-day MVRV ratio was 41.63%.

This ratio measures tops and bottoms depending on the market cycle while considering traders’ buying and selling behavior. When the MVRV ratio surges, it suggests that speculators have a higher market value than holders.

Conversely, a decrease implies that holders have a higher market value than speculators. So the spike may call for caution as it tends closer to the market top, with traders taking realized profits. 

Santiment’s 13 July analysis also agreed with this notion. According to the on-chain information portal, the XRP win is undoubtedly a bullish signal. 

Realistic or not, here’s XRP’s market cap in BNB’s terms

It also seemed that the possibility had become a reality based on liquidations in the market. For most of 13 July, short suffered as much as $31 million in liquidations, according to Coinglass.

Additionally, long-leveraged positions were also affected as XRP’s uptick dwindled. At the time of writing, long and short forceful position closures were almost equal.

Google Clarifies Internal Anchor Text And Ranking Effects

Google explains that changes to internal linking can make dramatic changes to a site’s rankings, both positive and negative. In a Webmaster Hangout, Google’s John Mueller explained the best way to update internal linking.

Can Changing Internal Anchor Text Affect Rankings?

A web publisher asked if changing the anchor text of internal links can negatively affect a website.

“Does changing the text of older internal links to help users understand them have any downside? Can it hurt the rankings?”

John Mueller’s answer was unambiguous.

“No. That sounds perfect. If you’re updating anchor text internally to make it more easily understandable by users then usually that also helps search engines to better understand the context of those pages. So I would definitely go for that.

…if you’re just changing the text like the writing and you’re changing the anchor from one text name to something else, that’s perfectly fine. “

Will Updated Anchor Text Help Rankings?

John Mueller does not state that updating anchor text will help a site rank better. He only stated that the anchor text will help the search engine “better understand the context of those pages.”

In the old days, it was understood that the search engine would be influenced by the anchor text to rank the page according to that anchor text.

Today, it takes more than just keywords in the anchor text to rank. This is evidenced by the kinds of sites Google is ranking today for most any given phrase.

The use of anchor text falls into a category where SEOs see anchor text as a ranking factor where Google sees it as just another way (out of many) to understand the context of a page of content.

Those are two different ways of understanding what internal anchor text is about. One way to look at it is as a “ranking factor” and the other way is to see it as a way to understand the context of a page of content.

Artists sometimes look at their paintings reflected in a mirror. The change in perspective allows them to see mistakes or shortcomings that are not apparent when viewing the image directly.

Similarly, looking at anchor text as a way to communicate the context of a page can help change your perspective on the content, to see it as more than just keywords for ranking.

Images Should be Avoided

The next insight John Mueller shared was that he discouraged the use of images when linking between pages. The main reason appears to be that image links do not help Google understand the context of what that page is relevant for.

To me, this is a rare disconnect within the “if it’s good for Users it’s good for Google” paradigm.

Aphorisms are great but sometimes they are also limited. There may be situations where linking with an image is good for users but apparently it’s not always good for Google.

So it may be best not to take something like “if it’s good for Users it’s good for Google” as an absolute.

Here is what John Mueller stated:

“The one thing I would avoid doing is changing anchor text into an image. So if you have… a fancy font or something that you want to use on your pages and you change a link from being a text link to an image link and you don’t have any textual kind of connection with that image for that link then it’s really hard for us to understand what the anchor text is supposed to be.”

Watch the Webmaster Hangout Video here: Changing Internal Links Hurt Rankings?

Screenshot by Author, Modified by Author

Vitamin C Serums: Best Products, Benefits, Side Effects

What are Vitamin C serums?

Skin care products with high concentrations of vitamin C include vitamin C serums., a potent antioxidant. They are typically applied to the skin as a thin, watery liquid and are absorbed quickly. Vitamin C serums are frequently used on the skin to help brighten it and make wrinkles and fine lines look less noticeable, as a lack of uniform skin tone. Additionally, they can be utilized to shield the skin against environmental aggressors, including pollution and UV rays. Additionally, some people take vitamin C serums to lessen the visibility of dark patches or acne scars. It is essential to follow the instructions on the product label when using a vitamin C serum, as some formulations can irritate sensitive skin.

What are the best Vitamin C serum products?

Many vitamin C serums are available on the market, and the best one for you will depend on your specific skin type and concerns. Here are a few popular vitamin C serums that are well-reviewed by customers −

Obagi Clinical Vitamin C Serum − This serum contains a high concentration of vitamin C and is formulated to be absorbed quickly into the skin. It aims to help make wrinkles, fine lines, and uneven skin tone less noticeable.

TruSkin Vitamin C Serum − All skin types can use this plant-based serum formulated with those substances. It is designed to help lighten the skin, lessen the visibility of dark spots, and enhance the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster − It is a vitamin C serum with a high concentration that is meant to be used with other skin care products to increase their efficacy. It is designed to help reduce the visibility of fine wrinkles, dullness, and uneven skin tone.

It is important to remember that the effectiveness of a vitamin C serum can depend on factors such as the concentration of vitamin C, the other ingredients in the formula, and how you use it. Some people may see results from using a vitamin C serum more quickly than others. It is also essential to use sunscreen when using a vitamin C serum, as vitamin C can make the skin more sensitive to UV radiation.

Best ways to apply Vitamin C serums

There are a few general tips that you can follow to get the most out of your vitamin C serum −

Cleanse your skin − Before applying a vitamin C serum, cleanse your skin thoroughly to remove dirt, oil, and makeup. This will help to ensure that the serum is absorbed correctly.

Use a toner − After cleansing, you can apply a toner to help balance your skin’s pH and prepare it for the serum.

Apply the serum − Dispense a small amount of serum onto your fingertips and apply it to your face and neck, avoiding the area around your eyes. You can use your fingers to gently massage the serum into your skin until it is absorbed.

Follow with a moisturizer − After applying the serum, you can use a moisturizer to help seal the serum and provide additional hydration.

Use sunscreen − It is essential to use sunscreen when using a vitamin C serum, as vitamin C can make the skin more sensitive to UV radiation.

It is also a good idea to follow the instructions on the product label when using a vitamin C serum, as different formulations may have specific application instructions. Some people find it helpful to use a vitamin C serum in the morning, as it can help to protect the skin from environmental stressors during the day. Others may prefer to use it at night, as it can help to repair and nourish the skin while you sleep.

Benefits of Vitamin C serums

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that can have several benefits when applied to the skin. Here are a few potential benefits of using a vitamin C serum −

Brightening the skin − Vitamin C can make skin seem more radiant and reduce the appearance of skin tone irregularities.

Decreasing the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles − According to some research, vitamin C can both assist to treat existing wrinkles and prevent new ones from developing.

Protecting the skin from environmental stressors− Taking vitamin C can reduce UV rays and other environmental stresses like pollution.

Reducing the appearance of dark spots − Dark skin areas, such as acne scars or sun damage, can be lightened with vitamin C.

Boosting collagen production − Collagen, a protein that supports the skin’s structure, is produced with vitamin C. According to some studies, applying vitamin C to the skin may encourage collagen formation, which might enhance the skin’s overall look.

Side effects of Vitamin C serums

While vitamin C serums are generally considered safe for most people, they can sometimes cause side effects, especially if the formula is not well-tolerated by the skin. Here are a few potential side effects of using a vitamin C serum −

Dryness − Some people may find that vitamin C serums can cause their skin to feel dry or tight. This is because vitamin C can have a drying effect on the skin.

Redness or irritation − Some people may experience redness or irritation after using a vitamin C serum, especially if their skin is sensitive or if they use formula too potent for their skin type.

Breakouts − In rare cases, vitamin C serums may cause breakouts, especially if not formulated for acne-prone skin.

Allergic reactions − Some people may be allergic to one or more of the ingredients in a vitamin C serum, which can cause symptoms such as redness, itching, or swelling.

High amounts of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, are found in vitamin C serums, and skin care treatments. They are frequently administered to the skin as a thin, watery liquid and are quickly absorbed. Vitamin C serums are commonly used on the skin to help brighten it and wrinkles, fine lines, and uneven skin tone are diminished. Additionally, they can be utilized to shield the skin against environmental aggressors, including pollution and UV rays. Further, some people take vitamin C serums to lessen the visibility of dark patches or acne scars.

In conclusion, to get the most out of a vitamin C serum, maintaining a regular skin care regimen that includes cleaning, toning, and moisturizing is crucial. It would be best if you also used sunscreen when using a vitamin C serum, as vitamin C can make the skin more sensitive to UV radiation. Overall, vitamin C serums can be a valuable addition to a skincare routine; however, it’s crucial to pick a product appropriate for your skin type and issues and use it as instructed.

How To Find Your Favorites On Tiktok (Videos, Sounds And Effects)

How to find Favorites on TikTok on iPhone and Android

Launch TikTok and tap the profile icon to go to your profile.

We shall take a look at another tab under Favorites. Tap Sounds to view all the audio clips you have added to favorites on the app. There are no collection folders under any other tabs, though; collections is an exclusive feature to organize your video favorites.

The purpose of the Favorites tabs is to give users easy access to review and use the items. For instance, you can replay any of the videos added to favorites anytime without the fear of them getting automatically reset after a certain period like the list of Liked videos (which is also accessible under the profile).

Another highlight is that Favorites are entirely private — no one else can view what you have hoarded in your collections; similarly, you can not view other users’ favorites. This acts as the necessary wall to give you a sense of privacy.

How to find favorites on TikTok on computer

Sadly, there is no Favorites tab or shortcut button for us to use on the TikTok web. Because it is deliberately excluded from web features to push users to resort to the app for a complete experience, it likely won’t appear at all on the web. Such a bummer for those of us who use our computers more than our mobile phones.

However, if you are the type of user who leaves a like on your favorites videos, then there might be a hack — for the lack of a better word –to view videos freshly liked and added to favorites. Here’s how you do it.

Go to TikTok web on your browser.

Log in to your profile with your credentials. Tap the profile icon on the top right corner to view the options.

Hit View profile to go to your profile.

How to find your favorite videos on TikTok app

To view the videos you have added to favorites, tap the profile icon to view your profile.

The independent collections appear in respective folders, for instance, there is a dedicated Cats folder under my Videos tab to add my favorite cat videos. Such folders are called collections; you may add new and as many collections as you want by hitting Create new collection.

Tap any folder to open it.

Tap the video you wish to watch and that’s it. 

You can play and interact with the video just like any other video.

How to find your favorite sounds on TikTok app

There are two ways to view and access the sounds you have added to favorites on TikTok. One is from the Favorites tab on the profile page and the other is on the create page.

Method #1: Find favorite sounds under the Favorites tab on your profile

Launch TikTok and tap the profile icon to go to your profile.

Tap any sound from the list to select it. Hit Use this sound to start creating a new video with it.

There is no option to organize sounds into folders or collections on TikTok.

Method #2: Find your favorite sounds on the Create page on TikTok

Tap the Record button to go to the create page.

Hit Add sound at the top of the camera screen.

The sound appears thus in the marquee post-selection.

How to find your favorite effects on TikTok app

Method #1: Find favorite effects under the Favorites tab on your profile

Launch TikTok and tap the profile icon to go to your profile.

To select any effect, tap the tile.

Method #2: Find your favorites effects on the create page on TikTok

Tap the Record button to go to the create page.

Hit the box titled Effects on the left side of the red recording button.

There it is! All your favorites are thus are under your profile or just a few taps away in the create page, easy to review and use anytime!

FAQs

Who can see your Favorites on TikTok? Can you categorize favorites on TikTok into collections?

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