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Fresh Start group of Conservative MPs: “We want to return powers in many areas where policy would be better set by our Parliament”

11 Jul 2012

The three Conservative MPs who founded the EU Fresh Start initiative - Andrea Leadsom, Chris Heaton-Harris and George Eustice - have an article on Conservative Home following the launch of their green paper on EU reform. They write that, “We want a fundamental renegotiation of the UK's relationship with the EU, and are developing a shopping list of powers to be repatriated. From regional policy, employment law, energy policy, agriculture and fisheries policy, criminal justice, and defence, we have developed approximately 100 possible options for change. Some, the UK could do itself, either without recourse to other Member States, or within the current EU system. Others will require negotiated treaty change.”

Open Europe Director Mats Persson writing in the Telegraph argues that the UK should start towards a new EU model which involves staying in the single market but limit EU involvement in other areas. He notes “to show he can be trusted on Europe – and to avoid a stinging defeat at the 2014 European elections at the hands of UKIP – David Cameron must get to work right away. First, in the on-going talks over the EU’s long-term budget, he should use his veto to insist on UK economic support being limited to the poorer member states, ending the irrational redistribution of money among richer countries. This would save taxpayers billions. Second, under a loophole in EU law, he could instantly bring more than 100 crime and policing laws back under the control of MPs.”

Separately French President François Hollande on an official visit to London has said that he wishes to see a Europe of “multiple speeds”. The Mail also reports that Hollande refused to support a deal between David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to freeze the EU budget although the Independent reports that he did agree that EU proposals to increase spending by €14bn a year were "unacceptable". The Telegraph reports that he also gave reassurance that British owners of second homes in France would not be unfairly peanalised by new taxes.
Telegraph: Persson Conservative Home: Fresh Start Mail Sun Guardian Telegraph Independent Le Figaro Les Echos Fresh Start: Green Paper

Open Europe Director Mats Persson and Research Director Stephen Booth will appear before the Lords EU Home Affairs, Health and Education Sub-Committee today, to give their views on the EU’s Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM).

Monti: Italy can’t rule out using ESM bond-buying programme in future;
Corriere della Sera: Berlusconi has decided to run for Prime Minister

Speaking after yesterday’s meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said, “It would be hazardous to state that Italy will never need this or that [eurozone bailout] fund.” Monti also confirmed that he is not considering staying in office after next year’s general elections. Meanwhile, the IMF warned in a new report that “a muddle-through scenario for policies in the euro area combined with a protracted period of low growth in the area as a whole could lead to an intensification of the crisis, pushing Italy back into a bad equilibrium.” Separately, Italian daily Il Corriere della Sera reports that Silvio Berlusconi has decided to run for Prime Minister in next year’s general elections, after his aides have pointed out that his candidacy could increase the votes for his party by up to 10-12%.
Il Sole 24 Ore Il Sole 24 Ore 2 Repubblica Corriere della Sera 2 La Stampa La Stampa 2 Corriere della Sera FT

Germany’s Constitutional Court indicates it could require up to three months to rule on ESM and fiscal treaty;
German political establishment divided over delay
Germany’s Constitutional Court, which yesterday began proceedings into a series of legal challenges against the ESM and the fiscal treaty, indicated that it might need up to three months to rule on whether to issue a temporary injunction – pending a full decision early next year as to whether the measures are in line with the Constitution. Addressing the Court, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble warned that “considerable postponement of the ESM…could cause considerable further uncertainty on markets beyond Germany and a substantial loss of trust in the eurozone's ability to make necessary decisions in an appropriate timeframe”. The Guardian reports that Chancellor Angela Merkel allegedly told a private meeting of her CDU party that the Court was “pushing the limits” of her patience.

Bundesbank President Jens Wiedmann, also giving evidence yesterday, warned that “a quick ratification is no guarantee that the crisis will not escalate further". The Court’s caution is broadly praised across the German media, with Süddeutsche’s Heribert Prantl arguing that “Karlsruhe has to find the ways and means by which Europe can continue to be built without breaking the foundations of the constitutional settlement. The success of this search is existentially vital for Germany and the EU. It is more important than the fleeting applause of the so-called markets in return for a quick decision.”
BBC Telegraph Guardian IHT EUobserver FT WSJ WSJ: Beck Spiegel FTD FAZ FAZ 2 Reuters MNI Welt Welt 2 Welt: Jungholt Süddeutsche Süddeutsche: Prantl Bild Irish Times Il Sole 24 Ore Irish Times 2

Spain may need to force losses on bank bondholders to gain eurozone bank bailout
A draft version of the memorandum of understanding for the Spanish bailout was leaked yesterday. It shows that Spain must meet 32 conditions in exchange for the financial assistance. The FT notes that the conditions include forcing certain bank bond and shareholders to take losses to ease bank debt before the banks receive funding and supervision of Spanish banks being transferred from the Bank of Spain to the Commission, IMF and ECB, with this troika also providing quarterly reviews of the progress in reforming the Spanish financial system. The €30bn tranche which is due to be paid by the end of the month will be kept in reserve for emergencies until the final audit of Spanish banks is completed in September.

Speaking in parliament this morning, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has announced new austerity measures worth a total €65bn until the end of 2014.
Expansión Expansión 2 El Mundo BBC Spanish MoU FT WSJ CityAM Telegraph Guardian Standard European Voice CityAM 2 WSJ Review & Outlook Les Echos: Almunia

AFP reports that Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras has warned that Greece needs to find €3bn of savings to meet its deficit targets for 2012 and continue to receive EU-IMF bailout money.  Stournaras said the Greek government is trying to come up with a short-term solution that would allow it to “cover its needs between now and September…until a first tranche [of aid] worth €31.5bn is released.”

In a report published today, the ILO warns that the eurozone faces losing a further 4.5m jobs over the next four years, unless it makes a concerted effort to increase job creation.

EU Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier has called for swift implementation of a eurozone banking union, aiming to have a single supervisor implemented before the end of the year.
Reuters EurActiv FT Editorial FT: Wolf WSJ: Fidler & Stevis BBC

Ireland looks to have bailout adjustment completed by October
The Irish Times reports that EU leaders have agreed to finalise an adjustment to the Irish bailout programme by October. The plan, to be tabled by September, may include the ESM, the eurozone’s permanent bailout fund, taking direct stakes in bailed out Irish banks to reduce Irish government debt levels – although this would not be able to be implemented until the single eurozone financial supervisor is in place, which may not be until 2013.
Irish Times

Turkish EU Affairs Minister Bagis: People seek visa-free travel to EU, not membership
Radikal reports that following a recent survey which revealed that only 37.7% of Turks think Turkey should join the European Union, EU Affairs Minister and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis has admitted that the Turkish people are more interested in visa liberalisation than joining the EU itself.

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