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UK could be outvoted on EU bank capital rules; Süddeutsche: UK is on the right side, since it wants to protect the taxpayers

04 May 2012

EU finance ministers will meet again on 15 May in an attempt to agree on new bank capital rules, following the UK’s refusal to endorse the latest compromise proposal. City AM reports that EU Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier and the Danish EU Presidency have both hinted that the UK could ultimately be outvoted on the proposal, with a Presidency spokesman saying, “There is a supporting qualified majority, but we would like to widen this support even further. I hope that we can reach an agreement.”

Meanwhile, Handelsblatt quotes Gerhard Hofmann, from German banking association BVR, saying, “In the future, the UK will determine the capital requirement rules for large parts of Europe.” He argues, “Apparently, European politicians don’t want to risk another clash with London, following the UK’s absence from the fiscal treaty.”

In a comment piece entitled “Protect the taxpayers”, Süddeutsche economic correspondent Alexander Hagelücken writes that the UK is on the right side in the debate over bank capital rules, and argues, “If the EU only tentatively stabilises its banks, the US will also act laxly, as they are nowhere near ready to implement the Basel-III standards on which the capital requirements are based. If Europe does not lead the way, the next crisis will again be an expensive one for taxpayers.”
Open Europe research FT City AM WSJ Reuters Telegraph FT: Alphaville Handelsblatt

Süddeutsche: Hollande to discuss “concrete ideas” on fiscal treaty with Berlin ahead of June’s summit of EU leaders  
Süddeutsche reports that German diplomats have held informal talks with members of French Socialist presidential candidate François Hollande’s team, during which the latter said they would seek a “pragmatic solution” to the divergences over the fiscal treaty on budgetary discipline. Minutes of the meeting reveal that Hollande’s team have already developed “concrete ideas” about how to supplement the treaty with pro-growth measures – which are to be “discussed informally” with Berlin ahead of the next meeting of EU leaders at the end of June.

Meanwhile, French centrist leader François Bayrou said yesterday that he will vote for Hollande in the second round of the French presidential election on Sunday, although he did not give any voting instruction to his MoDem party’s voters. Hollande’s lead in the second round has narrowed over the last week. A BVA poll places him on 52.5%, with incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy on 47.5%. Open Europe’s briefing on the French election featured on the Telegraph and Guardian’s live blogs.   

On BBC Question Time, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith warned that Hollande’s economic policies would have a “shockwave effect on Europe”, and added, “He’s said he’s going to come out, he’s going to spend money, he’s going to raise taxes, everything he says will suddenly change the French economy…we rely on Europe to trade and we will be very badly affected if this goes badly wrong.”

Open Europe research Independent Economist Times Irish Times FT FT 2 Le Figaro FT 3 Guardian Les Echos La Tribune Le Monde Liberation BBC Süddeutsche 2 Sueddeutsche Telegraph: Live blog Guardian: Live blog Le Figaro: Pécresse WSJ: Opinion piece by 21 French economists FT: Stephens Times: Sage

German Professor: Germany “not strong enough” to save the eurozone alone
Writing in Handelsblatt, German Professor Arnulf Baring suggests that Germany ought to leave the eurozone, arguing that “Germany is completely overwhelmed by the task of saving the whole currency union. Not only financially, but also politically, we are not strong enough. We have always been – and still are – far too weak to be Europe’s hegemon.”

In an op-ed in the Telegraph, Czech President Václav Klaus argues, “It should be made possible for countries that are the victims of the European Monetary Union to leave it and return to their own monetary arrangements…We should return to democracy, which can exist only at the level of nation-states, not at the level of the whole continent. A serious discussion of these issues is well overdue.”
Telegraph: Klaus City AM: Pettifer WSJ: Fidler WSJ Review & Outlook WSJ: Zimmerman IHT: Schröder Economist: Leader Economist Economist: Charlemagne Il Sole 24 Ore: Lops Handelsblatt: Baring

Open Europe’s briefing on the proposed increase in the EU’s 2013 budget, which noted that the Commission’s proposed staff cuts only amount to a net loss of 6 out of almost 41,000 jobs across all the EU institutions, is covered by Slovakian financial paper Hospodárske Noviny.
Hospodárske Noviny Open Europe research

Stable coalition unlikely to result from Sunday’s Greek elections;
New Greek elections could be held as early as June
Ahead of Sunday’s Greek election talk of another round of elections is already rife. Officials from the largest parties, New Democracy and PASOK, have suggested that any coalition between the two could be short lived, according to the WSJ. The article suggests that new elections could be held as early as June.

Meanwhile, centre-right New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras upped his rhetoric yesterday, as he called illegal immigrants the “tyrants” of Greek society. The comments can be seen as an attempt to appeal to those currently planning to vote for far-right parties. Open Europe’s Raoul Ruparel is quoted by USA Today discussing the rise of fringe parties in the Greek elections, and potential instability in Greece.
WSJ WSJ 2 USA Today Kathimerini Kathimerini 2 EUobserver

The BBC reports that UKIP has averaged around 13% of the vote in last night’s local elections in areas where it put up candidates – an increase of 5% compared with last years’ local elections. However, the party is not expected to win a substantial number of councillors.
BBC Conservative Home Telegraph

An Infratest Dimap poll for ARD and Die Welt found that 55% of Germans support Angela Merkel’s handling of the eurozone crisis via austerity and budgetary discipline, compared with 33% who would prefer an economic stimulus package. Merkel’s policy is also supported by a majority of voters of every main German political party, with the exception of Die Linke.

Speaking at his monthly press conference yesterday ECB President Mario Draghi increased the pressure on eurozone leaders by issuing a call for growth and a ten year vision for the eurozone.
IHT Le Figaro EUobserver Irish Times FT FT 2 CityAM WSJ Irish Independent EurActiv Telegraph Le Monde Les Echos Les Echos 2 Les Echos 3 Guardian FT 3 IHT

Lord Mandelson will today call for a referendum on Britain’s EU membership, saying Britain will one day see the logic of joining a revamped eurozone. He will argue, “Britain will find itself a decade from now the only state in the EU, certainly the only large state, outside the eurozone.”
Independent Times Sky News FT Guardian

The Dutch Central Planning Bureau has said that budget presented by the caretaker Dutch government last week is “too vague to assess”. Specifically, the bureau outlined that there is not enough supporting data to assess planned spending cuts such as the €1.6bn in healthcare, according to the Irish Times. 
EUobserver Irish Times

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