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MPs on Local Government Committee recommend repatriating EU regional policy; Limiting EU regional spending to less wealthy member states could save Northern Ireland £234m over seven years

17 Jul 2012

Following last week’s recommendation by the Parliamentary Select Committee for Communities and Local Government that the UK should seek to repatriate EU regional policy – as suggested by Open Europe in a recent report and in evidence to the Committee – the Belfast Telegraph cites Open Europe’s research which found that for every pound Northern Ireland received from the EU’s structural funds, it paid in £1.58 via general taxation. Open Europe’s Pawel Swidlicki is quoted as saying, “Northern Ireland would be a significant winner if this reform was implemented as it is currently a significant net contributor to the funds despite being less wealthy than the UK average, whereas it could secure both additional funding and the scope to tailor it to better suit its particular needs.”
Open Europe Research: EU Regional Policy Belfast Telegraph CLG Committee: Full Report 

Eurogroup to finalise Spanish bank bailout in conference call on Friday;
Tensions between government and regions mount over new austerity measures
Spanish news agency EFE reports that eurozone finance ministers will hold a conference call on Friday to finalise the details of the Spanish bank bailout. Meanwhile, Spain today faces its first debt auction after the government announced the new €65bn austerity package.   

El País reports that Spain’s Andalusia and Canarias regions will scrap their plans to cut civil servants’ salaries following the government’s decision to put an end to the extra pay at Christmas. Catalan nationalist party CiU – which governs in Catalonia thanks to the external support of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s Partido Popular – has announced that it will vote against the new austerity package in parliament. Open Europe’s blog post looking in detail at the latest Spanish austerity package is cited by the Guardian’s eurozone live blog.
Guardian: Live blog Open Europe blog Il Sole 24 Ore Il Sole 24 Ore 2 Expansión El País El Mundo El País 2 El País 3 El País 4 El País 5 Cinco Días La Vanguardia: de Guindos

IMF calls for greater ECB intervention to stem eurozone crisis
In its World Economic Outlook released yesterday, the IMF warned that the eurozone crisis continues to weigh on the global economy and called on the ECB to further ease monetary policy and “continue to provide ample liquidity support to banks under sufficiently lenient conditions.” The IMF forecasts that the eurozone will shrink by 0.3% as a whole this year and grow by only 0.7% next year.

Meanwhile, Eurostat data released yesterday showed that eurozone exports rose in May, while imports fell significantly. The data also highlighted that Greece and Portugal respectively saw a 13% and 9% rise in exports between January and April this year.
EUobserver IHT El País Irish Independent EurActiv Dow Jones CityAM FT: Peel WSJ FT: Merk CityAM: Rudd

Following European Commission President José Manuel Barroso’s description of Norway as a “small country”, today’s Scottish Sun has a detailed feature on life in the country. Open Europe’s Director Mats Persson is quoted as saying that Britain should remain in the EU to retain influence, but take a “pick-and-mix” approach to policy.
Open Europe blog Scottish Sun

Handelsblatt reports that Frank Schäffler (FDP) has written a letter to Bundestag President Norbert Lammert (CDU) complaining that the German government had not kept MPs sufficiently well informed ahead of Thursday’s vote on the Spanish bailout. “We have been denied information so as not to put the Bundestag’s approval in jeopardy”, he argued.

Open Europe blog

FT Deutschland reports that Slovenia’s largest bank, Nova Ljubljanska Banka, needs a €500m cash injection to protect against €6bn in toxic loans on its balance sheets. The paper notes that fully rebuilding the bank could cost up to €3bn – which would further increase the chances that the country as a whole could need a bailout.
FTD EUobserver

Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras will resume talks with cabinet colleagues today after they failed to agree on the details of the €11.6bn budget cuts Greece is expected to make over the next two years, Kathimerini reports.

In an interview with Handelsblatt, French Central Bank Governor Christian Noyer said, “Providing we could agree on a concept for a full range of banking supervision in the eurozone today, [the ECB] could start [acting as a supervisor] tomorrow.”
Handelsblatt: Noyer

Following reports that the ECB has changed its policy on imposing losses on senior bank bondholders, Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan will meet ECB President Mario Draghi in Frankfurt today to discuss the issue. The Irish Times reports that, according to unnamed sources, the ECB’s new position may boost calls for a renegotiation of Ireland’s bailout terms.
FT Irish Times

For the first time since 2004, Belgium’s public debt has surpassed 100% of the country’s GDP, reports De Tijd.
De Tijd EUobserver

Following last week’s downgrade of Italy’s sovereign debt, Moody’s cut the credit rating of ten Italian banks yesterday, reports Il Sole 24 Ore.
Il Sole 24 Ore FT Times CityAM WSJ

David Cameron was yesterday challenged to a public debate on Britain’s relationship with the EU by UKIP leader Nigel Farage, the Sun reports.
Sun Conservative Home: Hoskin

Romanian MEP Adrian Severin has been charged with forging documents to help persons close to him obtain European Parliament funding worth a total of over €430,000, reports EUobserver. Severin refused to step down after being involved in the ‘cash-for-amendments’ scandal exposed by the Sunday Times last year.

Le Monde DNA press release

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