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27 March 2014

Integrating Europe

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Articles from 20 March 2014 - 27 March 2014


Election update: S&D/EPP neck and neck; Front National gains support in French local elections
The French FN was the big winner at French local elections, which saw a record low voter turnout and losses for the ruling Socialists. German EP party representatives have written an open letter to S&D EP presidency candidate Schulz, asking him to step down from his post.  View Article
Making the European elections more democratic and boosting participation – Ground is prepared, say two Commission reports
Two months ahead of the EP elections, two new reports published by the Commission provide an overview of the decisive steps taken to make these elections even more democratic and to bring European politics closer to citizens.   View Article
Shifting EU institutional reform into high gear: Report of the CEPS High-Level Group
This report focuses on reforms that could be taken within the framework of the current treaties to build a more responsive and accountable Union.   View Article
UK House of Lords: National parliaments should have greater role in EU decision-making
The House of Lords EU Committee has called for a greater role for national parliaments in EU decision-making, including the introduction of a 'Green Card' procedure to enable a group of national parliaments to work together to propose new EU legislation or amend existing European law.   View Article


ECB/Draghi: A consistent strategy for a sustained recovery
Draghi said that in order to navigate through a debt crisis such as the euro area has experienced, the sequencing and above all the consistency of policy choices was everything. Cleaning-up of bank balance sheets did not need to wait for the end of the assessment, he added.  View Article
EBRD and ESM sign MoU
The EBRD and the ESM have signed a Memorandum of Understanding which provides a framework for the future cooperation between the institutions. This formalises the collaboration between the two International Financial Institutions.  View Article
Telegraph: QE not 'out of the question' - Weidmann
The head of Bundesbank said the ECB could consider purchasing eurozone government bonds or private sector assets, in a dramatic softening of stance on asset purchases.  View Article
Bruegel: Cross-country insurance mechanisms in currency unions
Countries in a monetary union can adjust to shocks either through internal or external mechanisms. The authors quantitatively assess for the EU a number of relevant mechanisms and compare them to the US.  View Article
Otmar Issing: Get your finances in order and stop blaming Germany
Writing for the FT, the ECB's former chief economist says that credibility in the eurozone can be restored only if treaties and rules are respected again. "Those who violate rules should face sanctions."  View Article
Statements/comments on SRM deal: Schäuble, ECB, EBF, BdB, FBF, EP groups, Fitch et al
The bank resolution accord broke a deadlock that had shown few signs of budging since December, when Parliament and finance ministers proposed competing visions of the law. However, further talks will be needed in the months ahead on implementing measures to flesh out certain aspects.  View Article
Bruegel/Merler & Wolff: The European Parliament improves Banking Union - But the SRM is still far from perfect
The authors' assessment is that the current deal on the SRF constitutes an improvement on the shortcomings identified in December. However, the resolution framework is still not perfect and in particular two central issues remain open.   View Article


EP Study: The value of more Europe
Europe’s economy could be boosted by €800 billion – equivalent to 6 per cent of current GDP – if more action is undertaken at EU level, according to a study by the EP.  View Article
European Council Conclusions: European Semester / Savings taxation
The European Council concluded the first phase of the European Semester and had a first discussion on the implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy ahead of the mid-term review at the Spring 2015 European Council. It cleared the way for the adoption of the Directive on taxation of savings income.  View Article
EP President Schulz on European Semester / Troika
In his speech to the European Council, Schulz said closer economic coordination should be seen as a necessary first step towards close economic and monetary union. He proposed three short-term measures to remedy some of the 'design flaws' which have hampered the Troika's work.  View Article
Council adopts new rules on the taxation of savings income
Commissioner Šemeta said it marked a major breakthrough in EU tax policy and a major step forward in the common fight against tax evasion. The OECD's Gurría also welcomed the 'international progress'.  View Article
Comments on new Savings Tax Directive rules: EBF, Insurance Europe, BdB, ABBL
"There is a crucial need for this regime to be based on a single, consistent and coherent model, as banks and tax administrations are investing substantially in the development of systems that will enable them to comply with the new requirements", said ECB chief executive Guido Ravoet.  View Article
EUobserver: 'Bank secrecy set to die' after Austria and Luxembourg back EU law
At the European Council, Austria and Luxembourg - the two countries which had delayed endorsing EU reforms on the Savings Tax Directive over the past six years of negotiations - agreed to back EU plans to increase transparency in tax reporting.  View Article
Nicholas Hirst: Member States increase tax transparency
Writing for EV, Hirst fears that the rules are likely to be superseded by an OECD standard before ever being applied.  View Article
EU–US Summit (TTIP)
The EU was represented by Presidents Van Rompuy and Barroso; the US was represented by President Barack Obama. Prior to the summit, multiple US/EU financial services trade associations issued a statement in support of a TTIP that includes financial services regulatory coordination. (Includes comments.)  View Article
Commission launches public online consultation on investor protection in TTIP
As part of its ongoing efforts to make its negotiations with the US the most open and transparent trade talks to date, the Commission launched a public consultation on investor protection and investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) in the TTIP. (Includes link to Commissioner De Gucht statement.)  View Article
EPC/Emmanouilidis: Post-Summit analysis
Emmanouilidis reviews i.a. the progress made on the European Semester, taxation of savings income and the SRM/SRF.  View Article
Tripartite Social Summit: EU leaders and social partners stress need to rebuild confidence in Europe
The Summit took stock of past actions and discussed future steps in the European Semester. It looked at the social partners' key role in strengthening the social dimension of the EMU, as well as their importance in elaborating and effectively implementing reforms at European and national level.   View Article
EACT/Raeburn: EU financial transaction tax must not be rushed
In a letter to the FT, Raeburn writes that it is important that the 11 EU countries involved do not lose sight of the importance of international trade and investing; they must reflect on the core principle in the EU treaty, the prohibition of any restriction on the free movement of capital.  View Article
OECD forecasts during and after the financial crisis - A post mortem
This paper assesses the OECD's projections for GDP growth and inflation during the global financial crisis and recovery. It focuses on lessons that can be learned from projection errors and their cross-country differences, and the changes to forecasting models and procedures.  View Article

Member State events

EESC: Greece and the EU - From economic austerity to social growth
The conclusions of the EESC-hosted EU conference in Athens were clear: there is a strong need for solidarity, cohesion, legitimacy and democracy at European level. If the Union is to move forward towards recovery and sustainable growth, it needs to invest in a mutually stronger Europe.  View Article
Kathimerini: Stournaras spells out 'no more taxes'
Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras categorically denied that there was any prospect of new taxes being imposed, adding that Greece was ready to issue a new bond but was likely to do so after May's EP elections.  View Article
Simon Nixon: Greece able to call its own tune
Writing for the WSJ, Nixon says the extent to which Athens got its way on vital issues relating to the budget, bank recapitalisation and structural reform is a mark of how far a recovering economy, buoyant markets and increasing confidence in PM Samaras have changed the terms of engagement.  View Article
Bloomberg: Rajoy wavering brings Italian risks to Spain
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is running out of time to make good on his pledge to complete an overhaul of Spain's economy.  View Article
Richard Branson: Don't let Great Britain become Little Britain - Stay in the EU
Quitting the 28-nation bloc would be "a very grave error" and would do "enormous damage" to Britain's businesses, writes Branson on his blog.  View Article
CER/Korteweg: Why Cameron's timing on EU reform is off
Cameron hopes to start renegotiating the terms of British EU membership after the 2015 UK election, and believes Germany and the Netherlands will support him in this endeavour. But their plans and timetables do not match his.  View Article
Hugo Dixon: 'The In/Out Question - Why Britain should stay in the EU and fight to make it better'
In an article for the Independent tying in with the release of his new book, Dixon says it would be a historic error for Britain to pull out of the EU: the economy would suffer, and global influence would also be diminished.  View Article
EUobserver: Czech government backs EU fiscal pact
The decision, taken following a cabinet meeting in Prague, will now need approval by the Czech parliament. The move will leave the UK as the only EU country not to have signed up to the treaty.  View Article
Finnish Parliament approves Finland's long-term EU policy objectives
In its report, the Grand Committee observes that the EU is a natural political community for Finland and therefore reinforcing the EU is in Finland's national interest. The Committee notes, however, that the EU has in many respects failed to fulfil the expectations of the Lisbon treaty.  View Article
IMF Executive Board completes first and second reviews for Romania
The IMF has completed the first and second reviews of Romania's performance under its economic programme supported by a 24-month Stand-By Arrangement. Completion of the reviews makes an additional amount equivalent to about €436.3 million available for disbursement.  View Article

© Graham Bishop

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