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Sarkozy supports changing Maastricht Treaty to allow ECB to support eurozone growth; 66% of Greeks want to stay in the eurozone but under a reformed troika plan

16 Apr 2012

French President Nicolas Sarkozy broke his pact with German Chancellor Angela Merkel not to discuss the role of the ECB during the presidential campaign, arguing yesterday that “If the central bank does not support growth, there will not be enough growth” and pledged to open the debate about the ECB’s role in promoting growth in the eurozone. He also hinted that he would look to change the role of the ECB as defined by the Maastricht Treaty, stating that the crisis has shown the limits of this definition.

On France Info this morning, French Presidential candidate Francois Hollande said that Sarkozy “had forgotten growth during his five year mandate…we would not be in this current situation if the ECB had intervened to buy sovereign debt or underwrite state borrowing from the start of the Greek debt crisis”. Writing in Die Welt, Sascha Lehnartz notes that, given German opposition to changing the role of the ECB, “hardly anyone remembers the fact that [Sarkozy’s] favourite subject as recently as February was the supposedly much-needed alignment with Germany.” 

Saturday’s Telegraph covered comments by Jaime Garcia-Lehaz, a Deputy in the Spanish Economy Ministry, who called on the ECB to buy Spanish bonds in the face of Spain’s rising borrowing costs. Meanwhile, Spanish socialist leader Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba has said that his party will challenge the ‘tax amnesty’ proposed by the government as part of the 2012 draft budget at the Spanish Constitutional Court, reports El Mundo. Spanish ten year borrowing costs topped 6.15% this morning as market jitters over the state of the Spanish economy continued to intensify.

Ahead of the G20 meeting this Friday, where IMF resources will be discussed, Les Echos reports that Japan is considering boosting its IMF contribution by $60bn.

A new poll conducted by Euromedia Research and SWG puts support for Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti at 47%. A separate IPSOS poll credits Monti with 55% of support, 10% lower than in the previous survey, reports Il Sole 24 Ore.

Kathimerini reports on a poll by the MRB company, which shows that 66% of Greeks want Greece to remain in the eurozone but under a different plan to the one currently laid down by the EU/IMF/ECB troika. 13.2% of respondents said they want Greece to leave the eurozone. 65% of respondents said they were keen to see a coalition government after the coming election.
FT CityAM WSJ Irish Times Le Monde Le Monde 2 Coulisses de Bruxelles EUobserver Telegraph: Evans-Pritchard Welt: Lehnartz WSJ 2 WSJ 3 Le Monde 3 Les Echos Kyodo News Telegraph FT 2 FT Weekend Saturday's Telegraph Sunday Telegraph: Halligan El País Expansión Cinco Días Telegraph: Bootle FT 3 FT Weekend 2 Les Echos 2 Les Echos 3 La Tribune Il Sole 24 Ore El Mundo Saturday's Telegraph Les Echos 4 Saturday's Guardian Saturday's Telegraph Les Echos 5 La Tribune 2 Kathimerini Irish Independent FAZ Spiegel Der Standard: Mayer blog EurActiv

Andrea Leadsom MP: “We have to defend our financial services like Merkel protects Germany's automotive industry and Sarkozy protects French farmers”
Andrea Leadsom MP, co-chair of the Conservative Fresh Start Project has an article on Conservative Home analysing British policy towards EU financial regulation. She argues that although the UK has some options “One thing is for sure – the status-quo is not one of them.” One potential alternative to the status-quo she proposes is the adoption of an emergency break or ‘double lock’ as outlined in Open Europe’s report Continental Shift.
Conservative Home : Leadsom Open Europe research: Continental Shift

Conservative MPs consider defecting to UKIP
Nadine Dorries MP writes on Conservative Home that she knows the identity of two Conservative MPs thinking of defecting to UKIP saying they are motivated by an unease with current Conservative policies including “defending the Eurozone, supporting the ECHR, [and] spinning the same old tired Euro deal.” In Saturday’s Telegraph Conservative Energy Minister Greg Barker MP labelled UKIP as “swivel-eyed”. The Mail questions whether “abuse” of UKIP is in the Conservative’s best interests pointing out that “UKIP is up to 11 per cent in the latest opinion poll”. There is also coverage of the defection of long time Conservative donor Peter Stringfellow to UKIP.
Saturday's Telegraph Telegraph: Goodman Conservative Home: Goodman Conservative Home: Dorries BBC: Farage Mail Mail 2 BBC

EU expected to call on UK to drop controls on Romanian and Bulgarian job-seekers
Süddeutsche reports that EU Social Affairs Commissioner László Andor will this week present a “comprehensive employment package” aimed at creating 17 million new jobs across the EU by 2020. The proposal will include calls for member states to fully open their labour markets to job seekers from Bulgaria and Romania; currently nine member states including Germany and the UK maintain controls. The package will also call on member states to introduce “reasonable but differentiated” minimum wages across different sectors, and for greater recognition of professional qualifications across member states.
Süddeutsche Open Europe Research: Social Policy Open Europe Research: Free Movement

Hollande criticises futures trading of French debt; Sarkozy in video fiasco
Socialist candidate Francois Hollande has called on Germany to “cancel” the introduction of futures trading on 10-year French bonds. Hollande told Mediapart that although the trading was not “an act of aggression against France”, it nevertheless “encouraged speculation to the detriment of those states involved”. He added that “a certain number of financial products ought to be simply banned”.  German derivatives specialist Eurex is set to launch the trade today. Nicolas Sarkozy commented on France 2 today that “the best way to respond to speculation on French debt, is to pay back the debt and reduce deficits”.

Meanwhile, Sarkozy has been accused of abusing his position as President during the elections, after filming a video conference between him and US President Barack Obama. In the video, Obama tells Sarkozy “I admire the tough battle you are waging”, to which Sarkozy replies “we will win, Mr Obama, you and me together”. The Socialist party and the journalists union condemned the “grotesque communications operation”.
Le Monde Les Echos Mediapart Guardian BBC Irish Independent Telegraph Telegraph: Editorial Sunday Times Observer Independent on Sunday FT Le Monde 2 Journal de Dimanche

In yesterday’s FAZ, Christian Siedenbiedel argued that demands by ECB employees that their pensions be indexed to protect them from inflation are evidence that “with this demand, the staff of the institution demonstrate they doubt the accomplishment of their core mission: securing monetary stability”, and describes them as “insurance against their own failure”.
FAZ: Siedenbiedel

Portugal became the first eurozone country to ratify the new ‘fiscal treaty’ on budgetary discipline on Friday. Euractiv notes that 204 out of 240 Portuguese MPs voted in favour.
Les Echos La Tribune EUobserver EurActiv

Euractiv reports that the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee is likely to issue a report by the end of April in support of eurobonds in response to a European Commission consultation. The Internal Market and Economic Affairs Committees are also due to issue their opinion in the coming months.
EurActiv

The FT notes that David Cameron is hoping to win allies for his plan to limit the power of the European Court of Human Rights at a conference held in Brighton this week. Meanwhile, the Mail reports that a YouGov poll has found that 45% of Britons strongly agreed, while 27% said they “tended to agree” with the statement that “human rights have become a charter for criminals and the undeserving”.

FT
Mail

EU foreign ministers are expected to ease sanctions against Myanmar when they meet in Luxembourg on April 23.

WSJ European Voice

The Telegraph reports that HM Treasury has admitted that David Cameron’s plans for a minimum price for a unit of alcohol may contravene EU law. The first test of its legality will come when the Scottish Government outlines similar plans at the end of of May.
Telegraph

Il Corriere della Sera
reports that 63 people are being investigated in Southern Italy’s Calabria region over allegations that they used €1.3m of EU funds to refurbish private villas and buy expensive presents for their friends and relatives.

Corriere della Sera

Deutsche Welle reports that 200 representatives of Pirate Parties from all over Europe gathered in Prague over the weekend to discuss setting up a European Pirate Party, however they failed to reach an agreement.
EUobserver DW ARD

Süddeutsche reports that Roland Berger, the consulting firm, tasked with establishing a European ratings agency to challenge the dominance of the ‘big three’ US agencies, is struggling to attract sufficient investors.
Süddeutsche FTD

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