64,000 people drop health insurance
A TOTAL of 64,000 people dropped their health insurance last year, according to latest figures from the Health Insurance Authority.
It said that at the end of 2012 there were just under 2.1 million people with in-patient cover. The average premium paid last year per person (including children) was €1,048 – net of tax – an increase of 12pc from 2011.
At the peak of the market in 2008, there were almost 2.3 million people with in-patient private health insurance.
It means that now over 45pc of people have cover, compared with nearly 51pc at the peak.
Italian election hurts sentiment
EUROZONE sentiment tumbled in March, ending a six-month trend of gains due to fears of renewed political uncertainty following Italy's inconclusive election.
The Sentix research group said its monthly index tracking investor sentiment in the eurozone fell to -10.6 in March from -3.9 in February.
This compared with a Reuters consensus forecast of -5.2.
"The reason for this setback is obvious: it is the outcome of the election in Italy which has caused uncertainty over the country's future development to skyrocket," Sentix said in a statement.
Latvia will apply to join EU in 2014
BALTIC state Latvia has decided to apply to join the eurozone next year. This is a sign of the faith in the currency which still exists in eastern Europe after three years which have threatened the project.
Latvia pegged its currency to the euro after joining the European Union in 2004.
Latvia and Lithuania, which pegged in 2002, stuck with the links through two years of turmoil after 2008 which saw their economies shrink by up to a fifth.
Both have recovered strongly – in Latvia's case helped by an EU and IMF bailout in 2009 – and have been on track to seal membership of the 17-member club after neighbouring Estonia joined successfully in 2011.
Flights grounded in Iberia strikes
SPANISH airline Iberia has said that about 1,300 flights will be cancelled this week as workers begin a second round of strikes. The action is in protest at the loss-making company's plans to lay off almost a fifth of its workforce.
The government has ordered a minimum amount of services should remain, meaning 85pc of long-haul flights, 62pc of medium-haul and 47pc of domestic flights are guaranteed.