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Ed Miliband: Britain “needs some powers back”

17 Jan 2013

Speaking on the BBC’s Today Programme, Labour leader Ed Miliband said, “I think we are moving to a more flexible Europe, a more flexible EU. Why do I say that? Because we will have some countries in the euro, Britain’s not going to be joining the euro, won’t be joining the euro if I’m Prime Minister.” Miliband said there were areas where “Britain needs some powers back” such as regional policy and state aid rules, but warned against the Conservatives’ “very simplistic approach” to the negotiations. He said EU immigrants' rights to benefits “should be looked at”. The Times reports that Vince Cable will today say it is a “terrible time” for David Cameron to be promising a referendum and warn that it could scare investors away.

Deutsche Welle quotes Open Europe Director Mats Persson as saying that if Cameron “stays clear of some of these phrases that make Europeans nervous, such as ‘repatriation’, ‘pick and choose’, ‘wholesale renegotiation’…I think at least he can provide some reassurance to European partners that the UK is about making Europe work better.” Mats was also interviewed on BBC Newsnight. Open Europe’s Stephen Booth is quoted by Bloomberg discussing David Cameron’s speech.

The Fresh Start Group of Conservative MPs yesterday launched their manifesto for changing the UK’s relations with the EU. On the prospects of negotiating new EU membership terms, co-founder of the Fresh Start Project Chris Heaton Harris MP argues in City AM, “Countries like Sweden, Finland, Holland, Denmark and, crucially, Germany fear the loss of a valued liberal voice in favour of free trade.” Writing on Conservative Home, former Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox argues “Any referendum should be a clear in-out choice based on the renegotiations and their outcome.”

Meanwhile, Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen said, “When looking at the single market, or free trade, or Europe’s competitiveness, in all those issues, we need Britain,” but warned it could not pick and choose aspects of the single market. Peter de Waard, Political Editor of Dutch daily De Volkskrant, argues “[Britain and the Netherlands] are often stand side by side when Berlin and Paris want to take integration too far”, adding, “[for example] when it comes to agricultural policy reforms and budgetary policy, London and the Hague are on the same wavelength”.

On BBC’s Newsnight programme Sweden’s Finance Minister Anders Borg said, “We have to listen to what the British Government is saying here and fundamentally we are supportive of a solution that would make it possible for the UK to stay in the Union, but this is a negotiation between the 27 member states so I think you have to be realistic of the difficulties we are facing here…I am deeply worried that some of the voices in the Franco-German debate are indicating they want to build a fully-fledged fiscal union a fully-fledged banking union. I think there are very few citizens supporting that…for us it is a key point that Britain stays in the EU it is a strong voice.”
Deutsche Welle
Bloomberg BBC Newsnight FT WSJ FT 2 FT 3 Times Independent Mirror Guardian Reuters FT 4 Guardian 2 EUobserver Reuters 2 EUobserver 2 Bloomberg City AM Mail Telegraph: Letters Express Times Sun City AM: Heaton-Harris and Wilding FT: Parker FT: Shrimsley FT: May City AM: Reid WSJ Review & Outlook WSJ: Schmieding Independent: Richards New Statesman: Leader Guardian: Kettle Mail: Hannan Conservative Home: Fox De Volkskrant: de Waard EUobserver

Reports in the Italian press suggest that, at a closed-door meeting yesterday, Mario Monti and centre-left candidate for Italian Prime Minister Pier Luigi Bersani have agreed to tone down the reciprocal attacks during the electoral campaign – to make sure that Silvio Berlusconi is defeated and potentially facilitate a post-election alliance between Bersani’s centre-left coalition and Monti’s centrist bloc.
Corriere della Sera Repubblica La Stampa FT

According to the European Commission’s latest review of the Spanish bank bailout, seen by El País, “Fiscal consolidation is improving, but Spain is likely to miss its deficit targets for 2012”. The document warns of “the significant risks in a good number of [Spanish] regions, which will very likely overshoot their deficit targets.”

Open Europe research El País El País 2 El País 3 El Mundo Cinco Días

The IMF yesterday approved the disbursement of its share of the next tranche of bailout aid to Greece worth €3.25bn, while the eurozone is expected to approve the release of its €9.2bn share of the tranche on Monday.

CityAM Kathimerini FAZ

Disagreements over banking regulations in the Eurozone remain

The WSJ reports that senior finance ministry officials across the eurozone continue to disagree over the need for the eurozone bailout fund, the ESM, to take the burden of bank bailouts off government books. According to the article, ESM Head Klaus Regling warned that without any national burden sharing the ESM’s funds would be depleted more quickly by lending directly to banks than national governments.

New trade data illustrates the value of US demand and EU supply chains to UK
A new report by the OECD/WTO shows that, using a value added model of measuring exports, EU economies such as Germany are less important to UK exporters than previously thought. The Times’ Business Editor Ian King notes, “This alone would not justify the UK leaving the EU, as the latter still accounts for a huge amount of products going to and from Britain, while much of the value derived by the UK from the US comes from goods that have gone in and out of the EU earlier in the production process.”
Open Europe research: UK-EU trade Times: King

EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht told the European Affairs Committee of the French National Assembly yesterday, “Our idea of [trade] reciprocity is one of positive reciprocity – which aims to bring our partners to our same level of openness. Not of a reciprocity which would consist of closing our markets because the others are doing so, and shooting ourselves in the foot.”
Les Echos

The IMF yesterday approved the release of the next €838m tranche of bailout funds to Portugal. Diário Económico reports that Portugal may return to the bond markets earlier than expected and could issue a five year bond within the next few days.

EUobserver Jornal de Negócios Diário Económico

In an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, French Economy Minister Pierre Moscovici warned that Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem is not certain to be the next Eurogroup chairman as he has so far failed to set out a detailed “vision” for the future of the eurozone.
FAZ La Tribune NRC

EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said yesterday that the EU Commission plans to reduce the number of emissions permits in the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) over the next two years would only be possible if it received German backing

reports that the Commission has asked the Bulgarian authorities to investigate a €1m grant given to a Bulgarian pop-folk music broadcaster under the EU’s Competitiveness Operative Programme after an outpouring of criticism on social media.

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