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Fresh Start group of Conservative MPs will today launch green paper on EU reform; François Hollande to hold talks with David Cameron on official visit to London

10 Jul 2012

The Fresh Start group of Conservative MPs will today launch its green paper on EU reform which sets out a range of options to either reform or repatriate EU policy areas. The Guardian quotes George Eustice MP, one of the group’s vice-chairmen, as saying: “We reject the view of defeatists who say it is impossible to renegotiate our membership of the EU. There are things that the government could do right now, such as opt out of 130 justice and home affairs laws. There are other things, such as repatriating control of employment law which may be matters for our next manifesto. But the important thing is to begin the process now.” Andrea Leadsom MP, also vice-chairman, is quoted as saying “This is not the time for Whitehall's 'two key points' negotiating approach – we need a shopping list of requirements, which will enable ministers to secure the right package.”  

The launch will be attended by Foreign Secretary William Hague, whose aide is quoted by the FT as saying of the green paper “This is a menu of options and it is looking to the future. There are a lot of interesting ideas in it. Everyone should read the paper and think about it.”

Open Europe’s Director Mats Persson has a short piece in The Sun in which he argues that “It is defeatist to say that fundamental EU reform is impossible. David Cameron must now show the courage to fight for a new relationship with Europe — and get down to business.” The FT cites Open Europe’s recent report which looked at whether EU membership was still the best option for the UK’s trade.  

French President François Hollande will today hold talks with David Cameron in London, with the Guardian reporting that Cameron will set out in greater detail the ‘safeguards’ he will ask for if the eurozone moves towards fiscal union. The two are also likely to discuss the EU budget following reports that French officials are planning to break a deal between Cameron and Hollande’s predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, to push for a budget freeze.
BBC Guardian FT Mail Guardian 2 Telegraph Sun: Persson Sun: Farage FT: Groom Open Europe Research: EU Trade Open Europe Research: EU Budget

Open Europe’s Director Mats Persson is today giving evidence to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs committee’s inquiry into the future of the EU and the UK Government’s EU policy.
Parliament Live

Spain to receive first €30bn of its bank bailout by the end of the month;
Eurozone finance ministers agree to give Spain extra year to meet its deficit targets
Eurozone finance ministers yesterday agreed to give Spain a first tranche worth €30bn to bail out its banks by the end of the month. The loans will have an average maturity of 12.5 years. Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos suggested that the interest rate “could be even lower” than 3-4%, reports Expansión. The conditions attached to the rescue package will be signed at the next meeting of eurozone finance ministers on 20 July. Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager said, “The total [amount of the rescue package] will likely be €100bn. Some countries like the Netherlands, Germany and Finland need to get parliamentary approval. We hope this can be wrapped up within a week.”  

The ministers also gave Spain an extra year to bring its deficit below 3% of GDP, with the deficit target for this year revised to 6.3% of GDP from the previously agreed 5.3%. The agreement has not calmed the markets, and the interest rate on Spain’s ten-year bonds remains at 6.9% this morning. Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo yesterday called on the ECB to intervene in the bond markets “on a massive scale”, reports El País.
FT FT 2 Times Guardian Telegraph BBC EurActiv European Voice El País Il Sole 24 Ore Le Figaro EUobserver Eurogroup statement El Mundo 2 Cinco Días 3 Le Monde La Tribune FAZ Welt FT 3 WSJ Independent El Mundo Expansión 3 Expansión 4 Les Echos Süddeutsche El Mundo 3 Expansión Cinco Días Cinco Días 2 Expansión 2 La Stampa El País 2 Cinco Días 4 Irish Independent Irish Times

The Greek Deputy Labour Minister Nikos Nikolopoulos resigned yesterday, stating that the new government had not done enough to try to renegotiate the Greek bailout package. The Greek Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) has forecast that the Greek economy will contract by 6.9% this year, resulting in a budget deficit of 9% of GDP and unemployment of 23.6%.
FT Irish Times Kathimerini Kathimerini 2 Reuters  

Disagreements over where final liability for bailed out banks would fall in the eurozone
Ahead of last night’s meeting of eurozone finance ministers, the WSJ reported that, according to a Commission spokesman, banks receiving aid directly from the ESM would not require a sovereign guarantee. However, following the discussions, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble announced that even if the ESM lent directly to banks, the ultimate liability would remain with the state, but would not be incorporated into state debt levels.  

The Eurogroup statement following the meeting stated that the plans for the ECB to act as an agent by purchasing bonds on behalf of the EFSF and ESM, the eurozone’s bailout funds, had been finalised. The statement also suggested updated plans for a banking union would be presented in September. Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan stated ahead of the meeting that he hoped an adjustment to the Irish bailout would be agreed by December, although no clear progress was made on the issue.  

The meeting also agreed that Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg’s Prime Minister, would stay as head of the Eurogroup at least until the end of the year, after which he could then be succeeded by the German or French Finance Minister. Luxembourg Central Bank Governor Yves Mersch will take over the vacant seat on the ECB’s executive board and Klaus Regling will move from head of the EFSF to head of the ESM, when it comes into force.  

Speaking to the European Parliament yesterday, ECB President Mario Draghi called on governments to do more to tackle the crisis but did suggest that the ECB was willing to help, albeit still “within the limits of [its] mandate.”
WSJ FT WSJ 2 Irish Independent FT 2 Kathimerini Le Monde El Mundo El Mundo 2 Eurogroup statement Il Sole 24 Ore Corriere della Sera Repubblica La Stampa Irish Independent Irish Times WSJ 3 FAZ NOS Radio Cyprus Mail  

German Constitutional Court to hold hearings into eurozone bailout complaints
Germany’s Constitutional Court will today open proceedings into a series of legal challenges against the ESM and fiscal treaties, with the key question being whether the Bundestag’s sovereign budgetary rights are upheld. Writing in Die Welt, legal correspondent Thorsten Jungholt comments that the Court’s eventual ruling will determine “How far European integration can go without damaging the democratic substance of Germany”.  

In an interview with FAZ, former SPD Justice Minister Herta Däubler-Gmelin, who is fronting one of the legal challenges on behalf of the ‘More Democracy’ citizens’ campaign group, when asked about the accusations that the anti-bailout challenges were ‘anti-European’, argues that “Europe will survive if it follows its own principles of democracy, rule of law and social law… We want a better Europe, not the one of bureaucrats which Mrs. Merkel is trying to sell us as having no alternative”.
Handelsblatt Zeit FAZ Welt Welt: Jungholt Süddeutsche  

The FT’s Lombard column argues that George Osborne should set out his opposition to the European Parliament’s demand for a 1:1 ratio of maximum of bankers’ bonuses to salary at today’s meeting of EU finance ministers.
FT: Guthrie  

The FT notes that a House of Lords committee will warn today that certain proposals in the EU’s upgraded Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (Mifid II), currently under consideration by the European Parliament, are “rushed”, “unsophisticated” and would lock non-EU firms out of markets.
Open Europe Research: EU Financial Regulation FT City AM  

Slovenia's Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec has said the Slovenian Parliament has frozen proceedings relating to Croatia's EU accession following the latest developments in the long-running conflict over the recovery of Croatian customers’ savings from Slovenia's Ljubljanska Banka, which were lost after the break-up of Yugoslavia, reports ORF.

The European Commission is warning that not enough is being done to reduce the size of the EU’s fishing fleet under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), in a report published yesterday. The report argues that there is an overcapacity of fishing vessels for the amount of fish that can be caught.
European Voice

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