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Spanish government delivers austerity measures to parliament, as new figures show youth unemployment exceeds 50%; Greece fails to secure deal on swap of bonds issued under foreign law

03 Apr 2012

Spanish Treasury Minister Cristóbal Montoro has this morning delivered to the parliament the government’s draft 2012 budget – which includes the €27.3bn austerity package unveiled last week. The first vote is scheduled for 26 April. Meanwhile, in an interview with the WSJ, Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said that Spain’s public debt will increase by around 10% this year. Separately, new figures from the European Commission’s statistics body Eurostat show that youth unemployment in Spain reached 50% in February. Unemployment in the eurozone as a whole was 10.8% – its highest level since the euro was introduced in 1999.  

La Stampa reports that, in an internal document presented at last week’s meeting of eurozone finance ministers, the European Commission has urged the Italian government not to water down its proposed labour market reforms.  

Bloomberg reports that the Greek government has failed to secure a deal with private investors on the swap of bonds issued under foreign law. According to a new poll conducted by Morgan Stanley, a majority of investors think that Greece will no longer be part of the eurozone in three years’ time, while 72% believe that Portugal will have to restructure its debts, Handelsblatt reports.
Repubblica La Stampa Kathimerini Bloomberg EUobserver IHT EUobserver 2 Expansión Expansión 2 Expansión 3 El País Cinco Días WSJ WSJ 2 WSJ 3 FT FT 2 Times DMN Welt Telegraph Le Monde Les Echos Mail La Tribune Telegraph Les Echos FT Editorial FT: Thornhill FT: Sandbu FT: Das & Roubini Handelsblatt Trends Der Spiegel  

Devolving EU regional policy could save Germany €3.5bn over seven years
Deutsche Mittelstands Nachrichten cites figures from Open Europe’s recent report on EU regional policy showing that between 2007 and 2013, Germany is paying a total of €68.3bn into the EU’s structural and cohesion funds but only getting €26.3bn back; a net contribution of €42bn. Furthermore, in many regions taxpayers pay significantly more into these funds than they receive back; for example Saarland’s taxpayers contributed €18.6 for every euro received back in EU subsidies.  

If the EU were no longer to fund regional development policies for richer member states, as per the recommendations in the report, Germany could save around €30bn gross on its contribution to the EU’s seven year budget framework, and see a net saving of €3.5bn which could be re-invested at the national level.
DMN Open Europe Research: Off Target  

Wolfson Economics Prize for euro break-up plan announces shortlist of finalists
The Wolfson Economics Prize, in which economists were asked to prepare a contingency plan for a break-up of the eurozone, today unveiled a shortlist of five finalists. In the FT, Gideon Rachman argues, “Spanish ministers – like their British counterparts – have been told that a euro break-up would lead to disaster. If the entrants to Lord Wolfson’s prize can show otherwise, they will have done the whole of Europe a service.”
Wolfson Economics Prize FT: Rachman  

Commons EU Scrutiny Committee: FCO “less than cooperative” in helping to scrutinise draft ‘fiscal treaty’
The House of Commons’ European Scrutiny Committee’s report on the ‘fiscal treaty’ on eurozone governance has concluded that it believes the Government sees “the use of the EU institutions outside the EU Treaties, without the consent of all 27 Member States, as unlawful.” The report endorses the Government’s use of the veto but adds the “The Foreign and Commonwealth Office was less than cooperative” in allowing them to scrutinise the course of negotiations. The Committee’s Chairman Bill Cash MP is quoted as saying “Politically and legally, it is profoundly unwise for the Government to suggest taking action, and then not to explain how it intends to carry it through.” Open Europe’s Director Mats Persson is quoted by the Huffington Post describing the treaty as “legally dubious”.
Express BBC ESC: Report Huffington Post Open Europe research: 10 Lessons

Sarkozy to present manifesto for Presidential elections on Thursday;
High abstention rate expected
French President Nicolas Sarkozy will present his manifesto for the French Presidential election on Thursday. The programme will focus on economic reforms necessary to cut the size of French debt, but increases in public spending, such as a 2.5% hike in health expenditure, are also included.  

Analysts predict that the elections could be marked by high levels of abstention, which some claim could reach up to 32% in the first round. The latest poll for Le Monde places Sarkozy in the lead in the first round on 29.5%, followed by Hollande on 27.5%, however Hollande still leads Sarkozy in the second round by 55% to 45%.
Le Monde Les Echos Les Echos 2 Le Monde 2 Les Echos 3 Nouvel Observateur Le Monde 3 Telegraph  

German Pirate party continues to rise in opinion polls
A new joint Stern-RTL poll out today shows the German Pirate party continuing its climb in the polls by hitting 12%, overtaking the far-Left Die Linke on 9% and almost drawing level with the Greens on 13%. Overall Angela Merkel’s CDU leads on 35% ahead of the SPD on 25%, while Merkel’s junior coalition partner, the liberal FDP party fell one point to 3%, not enough to secure parliamentary seats.
Stern Welt FAZ  

Le Soir reports that Belgium’s High Council of Finance is to submit a report to the government warning that it will need to raise €24bn by 2015 in order to balance its budget.
Le Soir

FTD reports that the EU Commission is opposed to the recommendation from the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB), chaired by ECB President Mario Draghi, calling for member states and institutions to be permitted to use their "discretion" when implementing the recommendations contained in the global Basel III agreement on bank capitalisation, arguing that it ought to have the final say on the issue.
No link  

Die Presse reports that the Greek government has said it will soon begin work on a controversial wall on its border with Turkey in order to prevent illegal immigrants from entering the EU’s border control-free Schengen area. EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said the EU would not provide any financial assistance for the project.
Die Presse  

Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier has dismissed criticism from hedge funds over new technical standards included in the EU’s AIFM Directive after an agreement between national governments and MEPs had already been reached as “rearguard lobbying”, and that he would not be “intimidated” by it.
FT CityAM FTD Open Europe research: AIFM Directive

The Irish Independent notes that up to one in five of Irish homeowners in arrears on their mortgages is deliberately not paying in the hope that their bank will write down their debts, a new report claims.
Irish Independent  

The Guardian reports that the UN says EU trawlers are out-muscling 1.5 million fishermen in West African waters.

The price of carbon within the EU’s emissions trading system has fallen to a record low due to an oversupply of permits, a mild winter, and falling industrial production.
FT Bloomberg

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