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Cameron: I’m prepared to veto eurozone integration if it threatens the single market

04 Jul 2012

Appearing before MPs on the Commons Liaison Committee yesterday, David Cameron said there was a risk that the 17 members of the single currency would attempt to “caucus” against those on the outside and that the UK would therefore need to “safeguard” the single market. Cameron said, “I would like to see some powers returned [from the EU]”, adding that he would not be afraid to take action similar to the veto he wielded in December. He said, “The focus at the moment is firefighting but everyone knows that change is a-coming.”

On proposed eurozone banking union, he said, “If they do that at the level of the 17 and we can get proper safeguards in place, then that wouldn't be a fundamental change for us.” The Prime Minister also said he would be prepared to impose stringent border controls if Greece is forced to leave euro.

The Times notes that a survey of Conservative party activists conducted by Conservative Home found that while 35% said they wanted “a referendum about leaving the EU and we should have it now”, 56% rejected this statement. CDU’s Gunther Krichbaum, the chairman of the German Bundestag’s Europe Committee, is quoted by the FT as saying, “Europe’s future does not lie along the path of opt-outs.”
Open Europe research: Continental shift
Independent Times Guardian Kathimerini EUobserver FT Telegraph Mail Express EUobserver 2 FT 2 Telegraph: Crawford Conservative Home: Goodman Telegraph: Goodman

Lagarde not in a “renegotiating mood” as Greek government looks for concessions from the Troika
At its first meeting with the EU/IMF/ECB Troika, the Greek government is expected to pledge to speed up the privatisation programme, possibly in return for more time to meet its deficit reduction and structural reforms targets. However, IMF Director Christine Lagarde said in an interview with MSNBC, “I’m not in a negotiations or renegotiations mood at all.” Meanwhile, Cypriot daily Phileleftheros reports that, according to an initial assessment by IMF officials, the Cypriot bailout could total €10bn.
Irish Times Kathimerini Kathimerini 2 Phileleftheros Il Sole 24 Ore: Sinn FT: Wolf FT: Kerber Welt: Lehnartz FAZ: Nonnenmacher

CSU leader warns his party could leave German coalition over eurozone bailouts
In an interview with Stern magazine, Horst Seehofer, Bavarian Prime Minister and leader of Angela Merkel’s sister party, the CSU, threatened that his party could withdraw from the coalition government if Merkel agreed to give further financial concessions to troubled eurozone countries without rigorous conditions concerning budgetary discipline and structural reforms. Seehofer’s comments were strongly criticised by the other junior coalition partner, the FDP, and Germany’s export association BGA, whose president Anton Börner said that “if Merkel had left the negotiating table, the eurozone would have collapsed”, reports Die Welt.
Stern Spiegel Welt Handelsblatt FT 2 FT EUobserver 2 WSJ: Review & Outlook

A Forsa poll for Stern has found that a majority of Germans consider EU membership to be beneficial, but reject further transfers of sovereignty to Brussels. 74% of respondents rejected the idea of a ‘United States of Europe’, 63% rejected a commonly elected EU President, 73% rejected joint debt liability such as Eurobonds, and 59% rejected a significant curtailment of the budgetary rights of the Bundestag.
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Bild reports that the German government has rejected the European Commission’s proposals to reform the EU civil servants’ statute as “inadequate”, arguing that far more needs to be done to reduce EU officials’ pay and pensions, citing the example that an EU secretary who is married with two children can earn up to €8,000 net per month.
Bild Welt

Reuters: Final agreement on Spanish bank bailout could be delayed until 20 July;
French PM obtains confidence, unveils government’s programme
According to sources quoted by Reuters, the final agreement on the conditions attached to Spain’s bank bailout could be postponed to 20 July. Meanwhile, speaking to the press in Berlin yesterday, Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo said the government will unveil a new set of “very severe” budget cuts over the next few days.

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault obtained the confidence of the National Assembly yesterday. In his keynote speech, Ayrault announced that his government will scrap the VAT increase approved under Nicolas Sarkozy’s Presidency. He also confirmed the introduction of a new 45% income tax rate for well-off households and a 75% income tax rate for people earning more than €1m a year, reports Le Figaro.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Rome today. Monti told the Italian Senate yesterday that Eurobonds “are no longer taboo” after last week’s EU summit. However, in an interview with Italian daily La Stampa, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said debt mutualisation in the eurozone “is not one of Germany’s objectives, even in the long term.”
Il Sole 24 Ore
Il Sole 24 Ore 2 FT  Corriere della Sera Repubblica Repubblica 2 El País El País 2 RTVE Le Figaro Le Figaro 2 Le Figaro 3 Les Echos La Stampa: Westerwelle FAZ: Monti

Dutch far-right leader to campaign for euro and EU exit
Geert Wilders announced the platform for his far-right PVV party ahead of the Dutch elections on 12 September, with the focus being a campaign for the Netherlands to leave the euro and the EU. However, two PVV MPs quit during the press conference announcing the campaign, criticising Wilders for running the party without consulting any of its members.

EU anti-fraud body recovers €691m from abuse of EU funds
Investigations by OLAF, the EU’s anti-fraud office, last year led to the recovery of €691m from the misuse of EU funds, a ten-fold increase compared with 2010. €520m of this came from the EU’s structural funds, including a €388m mafia-ran racketeering scheme on an EU-funded highway construction project in southern Italy. However, OLAF’s director-general Giovanni Kessler warned that its effectiveness was undermined by the unwillingness of national authorities, which administer the funds, to pass on allegations of fraud, corruption, and criminal activity.

Eurozone producer price inflation slowed to its lowest point for two years in May, further heightening the expectation that the ECB will cut interest rates by 0.25% to their lowest ever levels tomorrow.

The European Commission has unveiled plans for increasing consumer protection in financial services through raising the standards for financial advice and increasing disclosure of any conflicts of interest. The proposal has faced opposition from firms as many believe there will be significant compliance costs, which could be passed onto the consumer.

French police have raided the home and offices of the former French President Nicolas Sarkozy as part of an investigation into illegal campaign financing, reports the Guardian.
IHT Guardian

The Guardian notes that the Government has paid consultants nearly £3m to help civil servants select companies to build a rural broadband network, but the process is now being held up by EU competition rules.

Iceland’s Finance Minister, Oddny Hardardottir, has said her country would be best served joining the EU and ultimately the eurozone, the WSJ reports.

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