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Sunday Telegraph: EU working time rules forced the NHS to spend over £1bn on temporary staff in 2010-2011

19 Mar 2012

An investigation by the Sunday Telegraph into the effects of the EU’s Working Time Directive has found that the NHS spent £1.03bn in 2010-11 on temporary staff in order to cover staff shortages, with some doctors hired at rates of up to £20,000 a week. Charlotte Leslie MP is quoted in the Metro saying, “These are shocking figures. It’s not just the taxpayers who are suffering; patients will too.”
Open Europe research Sunday Telegraph Sunday Telegraph: Editorial Mail Metro

Hollande calls for increase in eurozone’s permanent bailout fund;
New leader of Dutch Social Democrats: Support for ‘fiscal treaty’ conditional on softening of deficit reduction targets
In a speech to centre-left leaders from across Europe, French Socialist presidential candidate François Hollande reiterated his plan to renegotiate the new European ‘fiscal treaty’ on budgetary discipline. He also called for the introduction of ‘Eurobonds’ to finance investment in the eurozone, an increase in the size of the eurozone’s permanent bailout fund, the ESM, and a broader mandate for the ECB, so it can “fight for growth” and act as a lender of last resort for eurozone governments. FT Deutschland reports that Sigmar Gabriel, the leader of the German Social Democrats, wants to wait for the French presidential elections before Germany ratifies the fiscal treaty – a move which he thinks could force German Chancellor Angela Merkel to consider adding pro-growth measures to the treaty should Hollande become the new French President.

Meanwhile, NRC Handelsblad reports that the newly elected leader of the Dutch Social Democrats, Diederik Samsom, has said that the party’s support for the fiscal treaty is conditional on the European Commission softening its deficit reduction targets for the Netherlands for 2013. Separately, the Irish Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, has said that the country’s referendum on the fiscal treaty is likely to take place between late May and early July, RTE reports.
RTE WSJ EUobserver 2 Bloomberg NRC Handelsblad Figaro EUobserver Reuters Sunday Telegraph Sunday Times Le Monde Irish Times FT

Mats Persson: German voters support greater eurozone integration only if it means more budget oversight, not more cash
Looking at a new YouGov-Cambridge poll allegedly showing support amongst eurozone voters for a ‘United States of Europe’, including 35% of Germans, Open Europe’s Director Mats Persson notes on his Telegraph blog that “It's easy to get excited about this, but it is important to consider a number of factors... most importantly, the question itself is phrased in such a way that implies greater enforcement of budgetary discipline. It’s hardly surprising that German voters would support this [but] unsurprisingly, as soon as the focus switches from more budget oversight and discipline to more cash, Germans’ support for further integration plummets.”

He concludes, “Ultimately, we have no idea how voters in the eurozone – and Germany in particular – will respond to proposals for a fully-fledged political and fiscal union, and therefore what the future of the euro will look like.”
Telegraph blogs: Persson

Juncker: Eurozone leaders discussed Greece on a monthly basis even in 2006;
Bundesbank continues to criticise ECB over “abundant provision of money”
In an interview with Kathimerini yesterday, Eurogroup Chairman Jean-Claude Juncker criticised Germany for acting in “a populist way” during the Greek crisis and noted that eurozone leaders knew about the situation in Greece as early as 2006. Open Europe’s Raoul Ruparel is quoted by Belgian magazine Knack, Italian financial news site Linkiesta, Boerse-Express, Greek dailies To Vima and Imerisia, and Greek news site Capital.gr, arguing, “They’d like us to believe Greece was a special case and won’t be repeated…Greece is the worst case, but not a special case.” In an interview with the FT, Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos said, “I am convinced that we are more than halfway along the path to economic recovery…Positive growth rates should be achieved within less than two years.” Papademos also insisted that a large majority of Greeks support the latest bailout package. Separately, Evangelos Venizelos was elected as the new Socialist PASOK party leader yesterday and is expected to step down as Greek Finance Minister today to focus on campaigning ahead of the elections.

Speaking to Der Spiegel, Bundesbank board member Joachim Nagel has warned of the dangers of the ECB’s unlimited long term lending operations, arguing, “The system shouldn't be accustomed to this abundant provision of money”, and calling for an “exit strategy” to wean banks and countries off ECB support. Handelsblatt reports that French President Nicolas Sarkozy is now supporting German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble to become Eurogroup chief. Meanwhile, the auction to determine the final pay-out on Greek Credit Default Swaps (CDS) will be held today, with around $2.5bn expected to be paid out.
FT FT 2 WSJ EurActiv CityAM Welt CityAM 2 Kathimerini BBC Kathimerini 2 Saturday’s Telegraph FT Weekend Spiegel Handelsblatt Welt: Hildebrand Welt: Stephan Kathimerini: Juncker Knack Boerse-Express To Vima Imerisia Capital.gr

Merkel distances herself from Sarkozy’s campaign after Schengen remarks
Der Spiegel reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is now seeking to distance herself from Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidential campaign, following Sarkozy’s threat to suspend France’s Schengen membership, which she considers ‘right-wing populism’. Meanwhile, Thomas Hanke, Handelsblatt’s Paris correspondent, argues that “regardless of whether Sarkozy or Hollande wins the [French presidential] election, France will become a more difficult partner for Germany…Sarkozy’s proposals for Europe can’t be reconciled with the aims of German political parties. He wants the opposite: more power for governments of big countries.”
Der Spiegel Handelsblatt: Hanke

El País
reports that the European Commission has urged Spain to improve the functioning of desalination plants across the country, after Spanish Agriculture Minister Miguel Arias Cañete told MPs that, on average, the plants are only working at 16% of their capacity. The Commission pointed out that Spain received around €1.5bn of EU subsidies to build the plants.
  
El País

The Irish Egg Association has warned that egg prices are expected to increase by up to 30% by Easter as a result of the shortage caused by the EU’s ban on battery cages for laying hens, which entered into force this year, the Irish Independent reports.
   
Irish Independent

In an interview with Handelsblatt, EU Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier says that he will present a proposal for an EU-wide network of national winding-down schemes for ailing banks before the summer.
  
Handelsblatt

An estimated £1bn worth of fish could be thrown back dead into the sea by the combined European fleet in the next decade unless the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy is reformed, the Scottish Fisheries Secretary has warned.
Press Association

Former East German dissident and Lutheran pastor Joachim Gauck has been elected as the new German President after beating his only opponent, Beate Klarsfeld, by 991 votes to 126.
FT WSJ Il Sole 24 Ore IHT: Janes and Ross Range Sunday Telegraph BBC Irish Times Monde Der Spiegel FAZ Süddeutsche Zeitung Bild

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