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Sun: Cameron set to unveil Dutch PM as ally in battle for slimmed-down EU; Osborne: “In order for us to stay in the European Union, the EU has to change”

11 Jan 2013

The Sun reports that David Cameron’s EU speech is now scheduled for 22 January and will be bolstered by a statement from Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte who will back Mr Cameron’s campaign for a repatriation of money and power to EU member states. In an interview with Die Welt, Chancellor George Osborne said, “I hope very much that the UK will remain a member of the EU. But in order for us to stay in the European Union, the EU has to change.” He added, “We have plenty of ideas for Europe…And we would wish that Germany would support us more strongly to push forward these ideas.” The Times quotes Gunther Krichbaum, Chairman of the German Bundestag’s European Affairs Committee, urging Mr Cameron not to “blackmail” the rest of Europe.

Open Europe Research Director Stephen Booth appeared on CNBC Europe arguing that the UK has to seize the opportunity to establish a new category of EU membership for countries outside the eurozone. Open Europe Director Mats Persson features on the Spectator’s podcast discussing the UK’s role in Europe.

Meanwhile, following US government comments about a potential UK exit from the EU, the Telegraph’s leader argues, “Washington could better use its influence to persuade EU leaders to recognise and respond to the difficulties that Britain will have dealing with a new federation on the Continent.”
Spectator podcasts: Persson Sun Welt: Osborne City AM Reuters Guardian Times Mail Mail: Leader Independent Independent: Leader Irish Times Telegraph BBC FT Express: Atkinson FT 3 WSJ Telegraph 2 Telegraph: Leader FT 2 Telegraph: Warner City AM: Hannan Guardian: Editorial

Greece beats targets for budget deficit in 2012
The Greek budget deficit for 2012 came in at €15.9bn, below the target of €16.3bn, while the primary deficit was €3.7bn, below the target of €4.6bn. The success in beating the targets was put down to huge public spending cuts. Separately, the FT reports that two Russian companies Gazprom and Sintez have emerged as the front runners for the €1.5bn sale of the Greek state gas utility DEPA.
Kathimerini Handelsblatt Welt FT

A new SWG poll on the Italian elections published this morning puts the centre-left coalition led by Pier Luigi Bersani ahead on 34.9%, followed by Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right coalition on 25.3% and by comedian Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement on 15.9%. Mario Monti’s centrist bloc comes fourth on 13.8%.
Il Sole 24 Ore El Mundo Repubblica La Stampa SWG poll

The ECB held interest rates yesterday and moved to dampen talk of a further loosening of monetary policy in the near future. In his monthly press conference, ECB President Mario Draghi said the eurozone is now back “in a normal situation, from a financial viewpoint” – but warned that fiscal consolidation and structural reform must continue.

FT 2 CityAM WSJ EUobserver IHT

Catalonia’s ruling nationalist parties have agreed on a declaration calling for the region to become “a new state within the EU”, reports La Vanguardia. The declaration is due to be voted on by the Catalan parliament on 23 January.
El País La Vanguardia

In an interview with Handelsblatt, EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said that Cyprus must overcome the “problems of money laundering” if it is to receive a bailout from other eurozone countries. Rehn also rejected the possibility of a write-down of Cypriot debt.
Handelsblatt EUobserver FAZ FAZ 2 Süddeutsche

The Bank of Spain is to face an investigation into allegations that it ignored reports from its inspectors who warned of wrongdoings in several Spanish banks. Meanwhile, the interest rate on Spain’s ten-year bonds yesterday fell below 5% for the first time since March 2012, notes El País.  
El País El País 2 FT

Le Monde reports that Danièle Nouy, Secretary General of the Banque de France’s Prudential Control Authority, is tipped to chair the ECB’s new supervisory board. This is expected to clear the way for Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem’s appointment as Eurogroup chairman.
Le Monde EUobserver IHT FT Le Figaro: Moscovici

The Czech Republic’s first direct presidential elections are taking place today and tomorrow. According to the latest opinion polls, the two candidates likely to go through into the final run-off are former Social-Democrat Prime Minister Milos Zeman and the unaffiliated former interim Prime Minister Jan Fischer.

Irish times BBC Cesky Noviny

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