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Cameron to announce repatriation of over 100 EU police and crime laws; Conservatives and Lib Dems in talks over opting back into “dozens” of laws

24 Sep 2012

The Sunday Times reported that David Cameron will in November – ahead of the Corby by-election – announce that the UK will exercise its ‘block opt-out’ from around 130 EU crime and policing laws, including the European Arrest Warrant, as allowed for by the Lisbon Treaty. After using the block opt-out, the UK could then opt back in to individual laws on a case-by-case basis, with Conservatives and Liberal Democrats currently negotiating over which laws to accept. The paper reports that the opt-in would cover “dozens” of the measures. In February, 102 MPs wrote a letter supporting an Open Europe report backing the use of the opt-out.

Meanwhile, Open Europe and Centre Forum jointly hosted an event at the Lib Dem Party Conference on Saturday discussing the impact of EU crime and policing law on civil liberties, and the ‘block opt-out’. Open Europe’s Research Director Stephen Booth warned that remaining inside the 130 laws would be a “gamble”, as it would extend the European Court of Justice’s often unpredictable jurisdiction over these laws. Lib Dem MP Tom Brake warned that taking the block opt-out would make it more difficult for the UK to influence policy in this area, while Conservative MP Nick de Bois said that taking the opt-out would strengthen the UK’s negotiating hand in seeking to reform the parts of the system it might want to keep.
Open Europe research
Sunday Times Telegraph letters Conservative Home: Howarth

Norman Lamb: “Judicial activism” of the ECJ should be a concern to all democrats
Speaking at Open Europe’s ‘Beers of Europe’ event at the Lib Dem conference, sponsored by JD Wetherspoon, Norman Lamb MP, Minister for Care Services, said that the changes happening in Europe as a result of the eurozone crisis necessitated a new approach. He argued that the Liberal Democrats needed to engage and had to apply “liberal and democratic principles” to issues such as EU “overregulation”, and noted that the European Court of Justice’s “judicial activism” should be a particular concern for those who consider themselves democrats. He said decisions on the future of Europe could no longer only be taken by elites and that a “Europe that respected its citizens” was long overdue.
No link

German Minister: European Commission’s proposal for 2014-2020 EU budget should be cut down by at least €100bn
DPA reports that German Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office Michael Link is demanding “corrections” on Germany’s contribution to the 2014-2020 EU budget, in order to keep it “fair and appropriate.” He argued, “We think that the European Commission’s proposal [which amounts to €1.09 trillion over seven years] should be cut down by at least €100bn.”
Open Europe research

EU channels significant amount of UK aid to wealthy countries
The front page of the Sunday Telegraph reported that a significant amount of UK foreign aid is channelled through the EU to middle and higher income countries. Open Europe’s Stephen Booth was quoted as saying, “That UK taxpayers’ money can be handed over and spent in a way that the Government actively disagrees with, perfectly illustrates the lack of accountability inherent in the EU budget. In on-going EU budget talks, the Government must seek to re-establish the link between UK objectives and EU spending.” Stephen is also quoted in today’s Express.

The Sunday Times reported that EuropeAid, the EU body which oversees the distribution of aid money from Britain’s Department for International Development (Dfid) and other EU members, spends over £1.3bn a year on contracts with consultancies. The article also cites Open Europe’s finding that in 2009 Barbados had received more than 35 times more aid for each person than Bangladesh.
Open Europe research
Sunday Telegraph Sunday Times Mail Express

Eurozone states plan to leverage ESM to €2 trillion
Der Spiegel reported yesterday that eurozone states are considering leveraging the ESM, the eurozone’s permanent bailout fund, to up to €2 trillion – despite similar plans failing for the ESM’s predecessor, the EFSF. The leverage is expected to be provided by private sector investments and is said to be supported by Germany but opposed by Finland. A spokeswoman for the German Finance Ministry suggested that any changes would be put to the German Bundestag for approval and that the German liability would remain capped at €190bn, adding that €2 trillion seems an unrealistic target for ESM lending.
Reuters El País El Mundo La Tribune Der Spiegel Reuters 2 MNI Sueddeutsche RTL Irish Independent CityAM FT: Munchau WSJ: Saravalle

The Sunday Telegraph looked at the UK Government’s ‘audit’ of EU powers, about to be launched, and quoted Open Europe’s Mats Persson saying, “Irrespective of whether one thinks the EU should do more or less, to gain a better understanding of the various – and often opaque – ways Brussels impacts on daily life in the UK can only help the debate and should be welcomed by all sides.”

France calls for more time for Greece to enact reform programme;
Der Spiegel: Greek deficit may be double the official level
In an interview with Mediapart, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has called for Greece to be given more time to implement its adjustment programme. Meanwhile, Der Spiegel reported yesterday that, according to preliminary findings by the EU/IMF/ECB Troika, Greece’s budget deficit may be almost double the amount officially acknowledged by the Greek government, at about €20bn. The report was denied by the Greek government.
Mediapart EUobserver Les Echos Reuters France Il Sole 24 Ore FT CityAM Telegraph Irish Times Irish Times 2 Spiegel Kathimerini Kathimerini 2 WSJ WSJ 2 FT Weekend

Catalonia’s ruling nationalist party, CiU, is negotiating with other regional parties over a non-binding resolution defending the “right to self-determination” of the Catalan people. The resolution is due to be voted in the Catalan parliament on Thursday, reports El País.  
El País Expansión City AM FT: Editorial WSJ: Nixon Saturday's Guardian FT Weekend

The Portuguese government has suggested it is ready to drop plans to increase workers’ social security contributions to lower labour costs for businesses, after the proposed measure triggered nationwide protests, reports the WSJ.
Guardian La Tribune FT WSJ

The ECB’s former Chief Economist Jürgen Stark told Austrian daily Die Presse in an interview, “Until [2010], everything went well…Then the ECB began to take on a new role, to fall into panic. It gave in to outside pressure...pressure from outside Europe.”

Die Presse: Stark

Andros Kyprianou, the leader of Cypriot ruling AKEL party, has suggested that Cyprus may have to consider leaving the eurozone if international lenders impose excessively painful austerity measures as a condition for a bailout, Reuters reports.

According to the monthly IFOP barometer published by Journal Du Dimanche, only 43% of French were satisfied with French President Fran
çois Hollande in September – compared to 56% in July and 54% in August.
JDD Le Monde

In a piece on The Commentator, Luke Coffey, a former special advisor to former Defence Secretary Liam Fox, argues that the UK should pull out of the European Defence Agency when the two year probationary period agreed in 2010 comes to an end this autumn.
The Commentator: Coffey

The Sun on Sunday reported that the UK’s share of funding 14 so-called European schools – attended by the children of EU officials – is set to reach £19.6m next year.
No link

On Conservative Home, Paul Goodman sets out arguments for and against a Conservative/UKIP electoral pact.
Conservative Home: Goodman

The US Senate has passed a bill that would effectively shield US airlines from the EU’s programme to reduce aviation emissions, Bloomberg reports.
Bloomberg WSJ

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