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Conservative MPs to publish proposals for new model of EU membership

02 Jan 2013

The Guardian reported that the Fresh Start group of Conservative MPs will this month publish their proposals for a Conservative renegotiation of the terms of Britain's EU membership. Co-chair Andrea Leadsom MP was quoted as saying, “If there is a treaty change what we have to be doing long in advance is saying to our European colleagues: ‘Here is one we prepared earlier. There is a trade here. You want to completely change the terms of the EU. You want to go to fiscal union. That was never the deal so here is what we want in return.’” Among other things, the Fresh Start group will propose an emergency brake on financial services regulations and ending the EU’s role in social and employment legislation, such as the Working Time Directive.

EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy has warned that UK demands could lead the single market to “unravel”. Europe Minister David Lidington dismissed the remarks, saying: “why is it that we have a single market in services that is very far from complete? Why no single market in transport yet?” Nick Clegg said that discussion of a referendum on relations with the EU before the future of the euro has been decided would place “the cart before the horse”.

Open Europe Director Mats Persson was quoted by the Guardian as saying that Germany has two key demands on UK “The first is don't park your truck in front of the fire exit – don't block further eurozone integration. The second one is don't mess with the single market.” Separately, in the Guardian, he set out the alternatives to membership of the EU, arguing that “all four would be disadvantageous to the UK.” Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter cited Open Europe's report on the options for the UK outside the EU.

Meanwhile, according to a Guardian/ICM poll, published 27 December, 51% of respondents would vote to take Britain out of the EU, against just 40% who say they would vote to stay in. The Times reported that the Union of European Federalists have suggested that the UK should become an “associate member”, which would result in it staying in the EU’s single market but being stripped of its Commissioner, MEPs, and its right of veto in the European Council.
Open Europe research: UK-EU trade Guardian Mail Guardian: Persson Guardian 2 Guardian 3 Guardian 4 Guardian 5 Mail Guardian/ICM poll Times: Ridley Sunday Telegraph FT Observer: Keegan Sunday Telegraph: Gilligan Sunday Telegraph: Ahmed Monday's Times Tuesday's Independent Tuesday's Telegraph Tuesday's Express Tuesday's Mail Tuesday's Mail: Booker BBC Guardian: Jenkins Telegraph: Hannan

Open Europe: What to expect from the EU in 2013
Open Europe’s briefing ‘What to expect from the EU in 2013’ was cited by the Telegraph, Polish dailies Rzeczpospolita and Gazeta Wyborcza, and by Spain’s EFE. Open Europe’s Raoul Ruparel was quoted by the Telegraph as saying, “Next year is not only likely to see domestic politics across the EU clash with the economic realities of the eurozone crisis and EU integration, but also countries increasingly being pitted against one another.”
Open Europe briefing Open Europe press release Telegraph Rzeczpospolita Gazeta Wyborcza EFE El Neuvo Herald Terra El Imparcial WSJ

Outgoing Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti announced he is heading a new campaign coalition made of up centrists and business leaders who back his "ethical" vision of politics, and would consider a second mandate in office if his fledging reform movement succeeds in the parliamentary elections.

The Sunday Times cited Open Europe’s calculation that the expiration of a special 5.5% levy on the salaries of EU civil servants will add an estimated £3,030 to the 2013 pay packet of an official on the average EU salary.
Sunday Times

In her New Year message, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that “the crisis is far from over yet” and called for further controls on the financial markets. However, in an interview with Bild last week, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said that “I believe that the worst is behind us.”
FAZ Bild Welt

Badische Zeitung features Open Europe Berlin’s blog post in which Prof. Dr. Wohlgemuth examines the conflict between the plans for ECB banking supervision with its principle tasks relating to monetary policy.
Badische Zeitung Open Europe Berlin Blog

A position paper due to be published by the CSU – the Bavarian sister party of Angela Merkel’s CDU – is expected to argue that the EU Commission ought to be reduced to 12 members from its current total of 27, that administration costs and the salaries of EU officials should likewise be reduced, and that referenda on fundamental EU issues ought to be introduced.

The Guardian reports that David Cameron has announced that he sees progress in negotiations over an EU-US free trade agreement as a key priority during the UK’s leadership of the G8 group this year.

In an interview with the FT, Hubert Aiwanger, the leader of the anti-bailout ‘Free Voters’ party, which will contest the German federal elections for the first time next year, argues that “Our goal is not to maintain the eurozone as it is, but to keep – or re-establish – peace and prosperity in Europe.”

The Telegraph reports that EU Internal Market Commissioner Michael Barnier has agreed to review the EU and global system for reporting company accounts - the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) – as its implementation in the UK has been criticised for allowing banks to hide the full extent of their risk exposure.

Ireland yesterday took over the EU’s rotating presidency, which it will hold for the next six months. The Irish government’s priorities during this period are to secure a deal on Ireland’s €64bn bank debt, finalise free trade deals with Canada and Singapore, and to prepare the ground for Croatia’s accession.
Irish Independent Irish Times Süddeutsche

Ivo Daalder, the American ambassador to Nato, yesterday warned that unless the UK and other European countries reinvested the money saved by withdrawing from Afghanistan to re-equip their military capabilities, Europe’s over-reliance on America would continue at a time when Washington had made the far east and China its new strategic priority.
Tuesday's Guardian

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