Opening Bell: EU embraces the sharing economy, Ireland gets more competitive, retail rents spike

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The European Commission will publish guidelines in the coming days regarding how EU member states should regulate the 'sharing economy.'

Disruptive services like Uber and Airbnb have been creating problems for lawmakers in some countries.

Uber in particular, has been banned or threatened with bans in a number of European territories - The Financial Times reports that the EU's publication will warn that bans should be a "measure of last resort."

The Commission says that rules like Berlin's crackdown on Airbnb rentals are "generally difficult to justify." The guidelines are expected to be sympathetic to these companies, and could go some way to defrosting EU/US tech relations - politicians in the US have claimed that European regulations have been targeting countries from the US.

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Ireland has been ranked as the seventh most competitive country in the world - that's nine places higher than last year's ranking, and the highest position since 2000.

The country's rise has been linked to its improved economic performance.

Hong Kong tops the list which is compiled by the IMD business school in Switzerland, it is followed by Switzerland, the US, Singapore, Sweden and Denmark.

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Rents for prime retail spots on Dublin's Henry street increased by 14% during the past year.

Property agent CBRE said that there has been a particular increase in demand for Ireland's strongest retail spaces during the past six months.

It claimed that a shortage of prime retail outlets on high streets and shopping centers is the biggest challenge facing the retail sector.

Prime Zone A rents across the Liffey on Grafton Street began rising in 2015 and have increased by 4% year-on-year to €5,700 per square metre.

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The Irish arm of Swedish retailer Tiger plans to open 12 new shops before the end of 2017 - the shops will be rebranded as Flying Tiger Copenhagen from next month.

It currently operates 24 stores across the island of Ireland.

"They will have to be the right size and it’s as much now about making sure the stores are performing well as opening new outlets. It will depend on the right location and the right rent deal," Gillian Maxwell who brought Tiger to Ireland, told The Irish Times.