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Volkskrant: Dutch PM threatened to leave the euro in opposition to reform contracts in June 2012

30 Apr 2014

Dutch daily De Volkskrant reports that, in June 2012, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte threatened to take the Netherlands out of the euro, if the bloc persisted with plans for ‘reform contracts’ which he believed would lead to a transfer union. Rutte has denied the reports, saying that he only told European Council President Herman Van Rompuy that he would veto any plans for such contracts. Van Rompuy said that he never thought it was “actually a threat” but merely a “strong statement” of opposition to the contracts, of which there were many.
Volkskrant NOS NRC Nu.nl Reuters

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has this morning dismissed the UK’s legal challenge against the Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) for being premature, given that the proposal is yet to be finalised. The ECJ stressed that its decision does not impact the UK’s ability to launch a new challenge once the proposal is finalised. Open Europe’s Raoul Ruparel was on BBC World new this morning discussing the ruling.
European Voice City AM

Open Europe’s briefing estimating that anti-EU or protest parties of various forms could win as much as 31% of the vote in next month’s European Parliament elections is cited by Simon Jenkins in the Guardian, and by Italian dailies Il Sole 24 Ore, La Repubblica and Libero, Italian news agency ANSA, Greek dailies To Vima and Imerisia, Portuguese business daily Jornal de Negócios, German regional paper Mittelbayerische and Finnish business daily Taloussanomat.
Guardian: Jenkins Il Sole 24 Ore Libero Tempi La Repubblica ANSA To Vima Taloussanomat Imerisia Jornal de Negocios Mittelbayerische Zeitung Open Europe: Briefing

Kiev loses grip of Eastern Ukraine as pro-Russia separatists seize more buildings;
US calls for further isolation of Russia as IMF forecast for Russian growth halved

Pro-Russian separatists have seized government buildings in another Eastern Ukrainian city, Horlivka, almost unopposed by police, as Ukraine’s interim President yesterday said that it’s law enforcement officials, “are not able to fulfil their obligation to protect our citizens.” US Secretary of State, John Kerry, said the events are “a wake-up call,” remarking that the US has proof that Russian spies are behind the unrest in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the EU yesterday published its extended sanctions list, targeting 15 new names, including Russia’s top military chief and its Deputy Prime Minister. The Russian foreign ministry called the move “shameful,”.

Separately, the IMF published a report on Tuesday slashing its forecast for Russian growth from 3% last October to only 1.3%, and adding that geopolitical tensions may further dent the “worsening outlook for growth and investment in Russia.”
Handelsblatt Handelsblatt 2 Reuters Deutschland FT City AM Bloomberg FT 2 FT 3 Times WSJ WSJ 2 Süddeutsche Süddeutsche 2 Süddeutsche: Fried FAZ: Kohler Telegraph Euractiv BBC Telegraph 2 Welt Bild Mail Mail 2

In an interview with De Standaard, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy argues that although the ‘United States of Europe’ is not a realistic scenario, the “whole European territory apart from Russia will in the long term be in some way involved with the EU”. He adds that “whether there is support for this among the public, I do not know. But we do it anyway.”
Standaard De Morgen

Third of Conservative members considering voting UKIP
More than one in three Conservative Party members are seriously considering voting for UKIP in next month’s European elections, according to a new study based on a YouGov survey of 850 party members. Separately, writing in the Mirror, Labour leader Ed Miliband argues that a vote for UKIP would be a vote for Thatcherism.

Meanwhile, the Times reports that Nigel Farage has ruled out standing in the Newark by-election after Conservative MP Patrick Mercer resigned last night, warning that if he stood and lost the “bubble would burst” on his party’s soaring popularity in the polls.
Independent Times Telegraph BBC FT BBC Telegraph Express Mirror: Miliband

Annual inflation in Germany picked up in April but by less than economists had expected, fanning concerns that inflation in the eurozone has fallen dangerously low and putting pressure on the European Central Bank to respond with interest-rate cuts or asset purchases.

Under the European Banking Authority's adverse scenario for its forthcoming bank stress tests, the EU economy would slip into a two-year recession, shrinking by 0.7% this year and 1.5% next year, and barely grow in 2016.

The FT reports that Finnish Europe Minister Alexander Stubb is the favourite to become the country’s next Prime Minister after launching a bid to lead the National Coalition Party, the largest member of the governing coalition.

The Dutch banking association has estimated that the new eurozone single bank resolution mechanism will cost Dutch banks €4.5bn over the first eight years.

According to new data from the Italian national statistics office ISTAT, unemployment in Italy stood at 12.7% in March – a 0.1% decrease from the previous month, but a 0.7% increase compared to March 2013. Youth unemployment stood at 42.7% – stable from the previous month, but 3.1% higher than in March 2013.
ISTAT La Stampa

The Spanish economy grew by 0.4% in the first quarter of 2014 compared to the previous quarter, according to preliminary data published by Spain’s national statistics office INE this morning.
El País El Mundo Expansión Expansión 2

In a preliminary vote yesterday, the lower house of the French parliament endorsed by 265 to 232 votes the €50bn austerity plan unveiled by Prime Minister Manuel Valls two weeks ago. However, 41 MPs from Valls’s Socialist Party abstained – meaning that the French Prime Minister may find it difficult to secure a majority in future budget votes.
Le Figaro Le Figaro 2 La Tribune

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