Your Evening Briefing

Here are today’s top stories for Europe.

Barnier Says EU Needs to Know U.K.'s Brexit Positions

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Hardball tactic? Psychological ploy? Whatever his motives, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, issued his second warning to the U.K. in a week, demanding Theresa May’s government make its positions clear so talks on its withdrawal from the bloc can start making progress. “We can’t remain idle as the clock’s ticking,” said an exasperated Barnier, when he briefed journalists in Brussels. — Bloomberg News

Not so secure. The CEO of Securitas, Sweden’s biggest security firm, is bankrupt after having his identity stolen. Alf Goransson’s identity was used to seek a loan of an undisclosed amount, after which a bankruptcy application was filed in his name. Goransson is appealing the bankruptcy decision, but the incident raises questions about security in a society that is leading the way in digitization.

Nikolay Storonsky
Source: Revolut

Making virtual currencies accessible. Two-year-old London-based startup Revolut has just raised $66 million to grow its cryptocurrencies trading business and expand into Asia and North America. Launched by former Credit Suisse trader Nikolay Storonsky, Revolut lets customers hold, exchange, spend and transfer virtual currencies such as bitcoin, litecoin and ethereum for free.

New Silk Road. Since the end of the Cold War, American money has poured into steel plants and carmakers in Eastern Europe. There’s a shift underway, though, as Donald Trump’s isolationism creates an opening for trade with China. Leaders in countries from Poland to Slovakia to Serbia are wooing Chinese investors to fill the void.

Tough customer. Russian businessman Dmitry Kamenshchik has survived mobsters, run-ins with police and the vagaries of Vladimir Putin’s legal system to emerge as the sole owner of Domodedovo Airport, 45 kilometers southeast of Moscow and the source of his estimated $3 billion fortune. Now he’s trying to retake the lead as Russia’s busiest hub from rival Sheremetyevo, which has held the crown since 2014.

The wurst ever? The nation that gave the world bratwurst and hot dogs is cutting back on pork. Last year Germans consumed the smallest amount since at least 2005. Pork is losing market share to poultry, beef and vegetarian options. There’s also been an influx of refugees who don’t eat pork, reducing per-capita consumption.

Putting a kick in growth. Nestle has begun selling Nespresso coffee capsules outside its own stores, hoping to restart flagging growth in Western Europe and compete with cheaper knockoffs. Germany’s Saturn, MediaMarkt and Galeria Kaufhof chains are installing “N-Point” terminals in their stores, where shoppers can buy pods for use with Nespresso machines.

Nespresso pods.
Photographer: Duncan Chard/Bloomberg

Compiled by Andy Reinhardt and Leila Taha

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