Today's Opening Belle is brought to you by our partners, Equos and Utrust.

Crypto exchange EQUOS has rebranded to EQONEX, pulling together an entire crypto and digital asset ecosystem under one brand.

Its EQO token has also been gaining significant traction as more people discover it, though it’s still affordable.

Since the launch in April, EQO has risen from 50 cents to $1.80 with a market cap of $30 million which is still small compared to FTT, which has a market cap of $10.4bn or BNB which has a market cap of $58bn.

As a result, traders have been flocking to the exchange and volumes have risen by 100 times indicating a strong appetite from investors to get EQO before the halving happening on June 26th.

Learn more on

AND the UK's FCA has just approved Digivault, which provides institutional investors with a solution that makes digital asset custody simple and secure.

Want to incorporate crypto payments into your business? Definitely use Utrust.

Merkel's bid to 'BAN THE BRITS' has been met with a predictable response in the media 👇👇👇

Angela Merkel bids to BAN British tourists from the EU
Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor, is planning the divisive move to designate Britain as a ‘country of concern’ because the high number of Delta variant cases.

Travel stocks such as TUI, and major European airlines took a hit.  

This situation is symbolic.

Let's head back to July 2020.

The EU recovery fund was agreed and proudly announced as a symbol of a strong and united Europe 💪 👇👇👇

“Our Deal is a Symbol of a Strong and United Europe”
European External Action Service - European Union External Action

Less than a year has passed and the EU is anything but United...

The headlines speak for themselves 👇

Merkel, Macron Back Travel Curbs, Scold Greece for Lax Rules
Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron blasted Greece and other tourism-dependent nations for freely accepting visitors who were inoculated with less effective Chinese and Russian vaccines, signaling the possibility of additional curbs on travel ahead of the peak tourist season.

Merkel chides Portugal for allowing in Brits amid Delta variant
German chancellor takes an aim at Lisbon which has allowed the entry of British tourists and now faces a spike of coronavirus infections.

Look at the language

Merkel scolds Greece, chides Portugal, impose EU-wide quarantine..

Once again, the power dynamic is in play.

This has nothing to do with Brexit or punishing the U.K.

The same concerns were expressed for Greece and Cyprus.

Both have waived quarantine requirements for visitors with Russia’s Sputnik and China’s Sinopharm shots, even though these vaccines are not approved by EU regulators.

Some have suggested that this IS all about German politics, with the CDU/CSU party potentially facing a genuine challenge in the September elections (and another Covid resurgence could swing voters).

Perhaps it comes down to the differing attitudes (within the EU) over what the EU actually is and how it should work.

On tourism, this divide is clearly along the lines of all together (Germany, France) or each country decides for themselves (basically everyone else)  👇

German, French leaders 'aghast at lack of coordination in EU'
Spain was against Merkel’s plan, saying each EU country should be able to make its own decision about who to admit, as is their legal right
Dutch Prime Minister Rutte: "We see some differences now, for example Malta and Spain, being a bit more lenient, maybe some other member states but that's up to them, they can do that."
Greek prime minister Mitsotakis: "My personal assessment - which I believe is shared by the majority of the European Council - is that there is no need to impose additional restrictions on travel from countries where this mutation already exists and its spread is more pronounced."
"There is an answer to the question of variants - and in particular the Delta variants - and that is to speed up the vaccination process."

Tourism has already taken an enormous hit...

EU tourism down by 61% during the pandemic
Over the past year, tourism was among the sectors most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, due to the travel restrictions as well as other precautionary measures taken in response. The number of nights spent at EU tourist accommodation establishments dropped by 61% between April 2020 and March 2021 (…

And losing another summer to Covid will have a further negative impact on employment, especially in the tourism-dependent Southern nations.

Tourism vital to employment in several Member States
One of the first industries to be affected by the current coronavirus pandemic was the tourism industry. Travel restrictions and widespread cancellations have led to an almost complete halt in international as well as national tourism. Based on Eurostat estimates, in 2017, there were 2.3 million e…

Attitudes to risk need to evolve... 👇👇👇

Brand new EU
“The British took risks by financing the private sector. The Americans took risks. We don’t know how to do that yet,” Can the EU escape the trap of sluggish growth & minimal innovation?

Can the EU learn to take risks or are they doomed to continue the current path of sluggish growth & minimal innovation which produces such undesirable outcomes as persistently high youth unemployment?
If they can't change course now... when will they?

That Germany attempted to ban British travellers from the European Union regardless of whether or not they have had a COVID-19 vaccine suggests that this lesson has still not been learnt.

Studies have already shown that vaccinations are highly effective against the latest variant 👇

UK study finds vaccines offer high protection against hospitalisation from Delta variant
COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer (PFE.N) and AstraZeneca (AZN.L) offer high protection of more than 90% against hospitalisation from the Delta coronavirus variant, a new analysis by Public Health England (PHE) showed on Monday.

Some risk has to be accepted if the world is ever going to return to 'normal'...

Away from the tourism side of things, Merkel & Macron also misread the feeling on Russia... 👇👇

EU Rejects Merkel-Macron Call for Leaders’ Talks With Putin
European Union leaders rejected an appeal from Germany and France to hold formal talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, handing Angela Merkel a rare public defeat at what could be her final EU summit as chancellor.

Merkel's response to this rejection?

Merkel says ‘sovereign’ EU should be able to talk to Putin
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday (25 June) insisted that the EU should be able to talk to Russian leader Vladimir Putin, after other leaders from the bloc thwarted her push for a summit.

But isn't that the problem?

There is no 'sovereign EU'. There never has been.  

The pandemic offered an opportunity for reform. It was not taken.

Wounds have not healed, the age-old problems have not been resolved and a divided EU looks as weak as it ever has, just as the two largest nations head into some tricky elections.