Daily Press Summary
David Cameron: There will be a referendum whether or not I have successfully re-negotiated
Appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show yesterday, Prime Minister David Cameron said he is “upbeat, bullish and optimistic” that he will succeed in renegotiating the UK’s EU membership arguing that “The eurozone needs change - it needs a banking union, it needs more fiscal union - and so we're perfectly legitimate to ask for our changes”. He added that “I won’t become Prime Minister unless I can guarantee that that in/out referendum will be held… we [will] have the referendum whether or not I have successfully negotiated”.
On the substance of the renegotiation Cameron stressed that he was not aiming to “put up the barriers” to stop migrants from other EU countries coming to the UK to work. While writing in Conservative Home, Cameron argues that “I have set out, very clearly, what we are renegotiating on: keeping our border controls; cracking down on benefit tourism; securing more trade; getting more control over justice and home affairs; getting a better deal for taxpayers and getting Britain out of “ever closer union… a Europe that is less bureaucratic, less bossy.”
Open Europe Director Mats Persson is quoted in the New York Times arguing that a successful revamp of British membership terms is “an attainable goal.” Writing in City AM, Open Europe’s Christopher Howarth argues that when it comes to the renegotiation, if David Cameron asks “for too little, and he will not be able to persuade the British people things have changed before his 2017 referendum.”
Separately, official figures due this week are expected to show that 30,000 Bulgarians and Romanians have come to Britain since restrictions on their entry lapsed in January.
BBC Conservative Home: Cameron City AM: Howarth Sunday Telegraph Sunday Telegraph: Cameron Times Telegraph Sunday Telegraph FT City AM Independent: Leader Telegraph Sun Sunday Times Sun on Sunday Sunday Express Saturday’s NYT
Pro-Russian separatists declare victory in self-rule referendum;
Leaked EU paper concludes sanctions on Russia could have serious long-term implications for German economy
Pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine declared victory in yesterday’s independence referendum, claiming that 89% voted in favour of ‘self-rule’ for Eastern Ukraine with a turnout of 75%. Russia welcomed the results, while the Ukrainian government called the referendum “illegal and illegitimate”. There are numerous reports of irregularities in the voting procedure as well as questions over the turnout figures.
Meanwhile, over the weekend, Stern reported on a leaked EU paper which found that import bans on Russian products and asset freezes could cut German growth by 0.3% of GDP this year and 0.1% next year. The report warned the long term implications of sanctions for the German economy could be serious. Open Europe’s Nina Schick appeared on BBC World News’ Business Edition discussing the EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels today, arguing that the EU won’t move beyond expanding targeted sanctions on individuals, and possibly firms, at this point.
FT FT 2 FT Q&A City AM WSJ Reuters Bloomberg Times FAZ FAZ 2 FAZ: Veser Süddeutsche Süddeutsche: Kahlweit Spiegel Handelsblatt live blog Der Standard Die Presse Reuters Deutschland Welt Irish Times Telegraph Euractiv BBC Reuters 2 WSJ 2 Reuters 3 WSJ 3 Handelsblatt Handelsblatt 2 Die Presse 2 Saturday’s Telegraph Stern
Persson: Weakened ECR group in the European Parliament could hinder Cameron’s EU reform agenda
The FT reports that the European Conservatives and Reformers group in the European Parliament is set to be weakened after the European elections. Open Europe Director Mats Persson is quoted as saying that “Though no one’s fault in particular, [the] Conservatives may be slapped by the double whammy of a weakened ECR group in the parliament, and a weakened Tory party within the ECR. As MEPs will have a decisive say over several items in Cameron’s EU renegotiation package, this is worrying.”
The Times cites the conclusion of Open Europe’s recent European elections briefing that the result of the higher vote share for anti-EU and protest parties of various shades could be to bolster the status quo/federalist bloc at the expense of reform minded parties. Open Europe’s briefing is also cited in the Telegraph, Deutsche Wirtschaftsnachrichten and Courrier International.
Open Europe research FT Times Telegraph DWN Courrier International
Writing on his Forbes blog, Open Europe’s Raoul Ruparel asks whether there is a bond bubble in peripheral Europe. Raoul concludes that, due to low inflation pulling down borrowing costs, calling it a bubble is premature. However, with complacency seeping in, the side effects could nonetheless be serious as governments see the cheaper interest rates as an excuse to halt reform.
Welt: No agreement on Draghi’s near pre-commitment to ease policy in June
Die Welt reports that despite ECB President Mario Draghi’s statement on Thursday that the ECB Governing Council feels “comfortable” with taking action to ease monetary policy in June, no clear consensus or agreement over such wording or action had been reached at the council meeting that day. Meanwhile, the leader of Merkel’s Bavarian sister party CSU, Horst Seehofer, tells Bild that “we need a veto right for Germany on fundamental questions in the ECB council”.
Welt Bild FAZ Bloomberg
Juncker: Merkel has given me “firm commitment” I will be next Commission President if EPP win European elections
In an interview with Bild am Sonntag, Jean-Claude Juncker, the EPP’s leading candidate for the post of European Commission President claimed that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has given him a “firm commitment” that if the centre-right win the European elections, he will definitely get the position. An Emnid opinion poll for the same paper found that only 7% could identify Juncker as the centre-right’s leading candidate (13% among CDU/CSU voters) while 17% were able to identify European Parliament President Martin Schulz as the centre-left’s leading candidate (23% among SPD voters).
Bild am Sonntag Bild am Sonntag 2 City AM EurActiv Spiegel EUobserver Independent: Juncker
New poll finds lower support for EU membership in France than in the UK
A YouGov poll for Die Welt found that 34% of respondents in France support EU membership while 33% oppose it, compared with 39% and 38% respectively in the UK. The poll found that 57% of respondents in Germany support EU membership with only 23% opposed. Meanwhile, Der Standard reports that according to a poll conducted by the Linz based Market-Institut, 70% of Austrians believe that the EU is on the wrong course, while only 23% believe that it is on the right course.
FT Welt Der Standard Irish Times Dagens Nyheter
An Opinium poll for the Observer found that only 11% of UK respondents said they would be confident of naming one of their MEPs compared with 52% who said they would be confident of naming their MP. However, the poll also found 43% think the European Parliament is important in the way Britain is governed while 37% think it is unimportant.
FAZ reports that benefit payments for children who do not live in Germany but whose parents come to the country from other parts of the EU as seasonal workers total €1bn in the period from 2012 to 2014. This follows an ECJ judgement from 2012 which gives seasonal workers coming from EU member states to Germany the right to child benefits even though their children do not live in Germany.
Handelsblatt reports that CDU’s so-called “social wing” is calling for Europe-wide cap on executive pay, quoting the vice-chairman of the Christian Democratic Workers' Association Christian Bäumler as saying that “salary excesses endanger not only societal cohesion but create economic risks.”
The Telegraph reports that Corinne Vigreux, the co-founder of the TomTom satellite navigation system, has backed Britain’s demands for EU reform, arguing that Europe risks missing out on the growth industries and jobs if it continues to operate as a fragmented market.
The Greek Supreme Court has said that neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn will be allowed to run in the upcoming European elections despite a criminal probe into the party and many of its leaders awaiting criminal trials.
The Mail on Sunday reported that the European Commission has ruled that all new vehicles must be fitted with a “black box” for use in emergencies quoting a letter from Transport Minister Robert Goodwill as saying that “the costs to the UK outweigh the benefits. Unfortunately, there is very little support for the UK position and no possibility of blocking this legislation.”
Mail on Sunday