Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Open Europe press summary: 21 April 2010



EU takes first steps towards European Public Prosecutor

The Telegraph reports on new proposals tabled under the EU's controversial 'Stockholm Programme' on justice and home affairs yesterday, which include proposals for a European ID card register, internet surveillance systems and automated EU exit-entry border systems operated by machines reading fingerprints.


There are also plans to turn Eurojust, an existing body based on non-binding judicial co-operation, into an investigator, with the power to order arrests and trials, as a first step to creating an EU Public Prosecutor, according to the article. It quotes a Commission document saying: "The Commission will prepare the establishment of a European Public Prosecutor's Office from Eurojust, with the responsibility to investigate, prosecute and bring to judgement offences against the Union's financial interests...The administration of justice must not be impeded by unjustifiable differences between the member states' judicial systems".


The article quotes civil liberties campaigner Tony Bunyan saying: "These policies constitute an attack on civil liberties and are evidence of dangerous authoritarian tendencies within the EU".


Meanwhile the Mail reports that the Labour Party has shown support for the controversial new European Evidence Warrant (EEW). The EEW is the partner to the European Arrest Warrant, and could allow member states to access personal data, such as DNA and bank records, of citizens from other member states.

Telegraph OE research ORF Mail


Citigroup analyst: Single currency is "doomed" without "United States of Europe";

German contribution to Greek bailout could rise to €18 billion

EUobserver reports that, in a note circulated to clients by Tom Fitzpatrick, Chief Technical Analyst at Citigroup, he warns that "Europe needs to stand up and decide if it is going to be a 'United States of Europe'," adding that without such a level of integration "the euro as a common and expanding single currency will inevitably be doomed."


FTDeutschland reports that the IMF wants to limit its contribution to the Greek bailout to this year, and does not plan to provide more money in 2011 and 2012. Citing the estimates by Bundesbank President Axel Weber that the overall contribution to Greece would amount to €80 billion by 2012, the newspaper notes that because of the new revelations, the additional €35 billion Greece will likely need will have to be provided by European countries alone. The article suggests Germany would have to contribute another €9.8 billion, which would raise the total German contribution to €18 billion, which was confirmed by sources from the German Parliament.


Meanwhile the FT reports that a 20-strong team from the EU and IMF began negotiations in Athens today over the details of an aid package for Greece. Despite the issuance of three-month securities on Tuesday at a lower interest rate than many had expected, pressure continues to grow, with yields on Greek debt topping 8 percent (their highest level since 1998) according to Bloomberg as well as growing domestic opposition to austerity plans.

EUobserver FT Irish Times Irish Independent Times AFP IHT Guardian El Pais Bloomberg AFP FT Deutschland Bild


Lord Rothschild: Investment trusts should be excluded from AIFM Directive

Writing in the FT Jacob Rothschild, Chairman of RIT Capital Partners, argues that investment trusts should be exempted from the EU's AIFM Directive to regulate hedge funds and private equity firms, adding: "The best solution is to exclude investment trusts from its scope altogether. Tinkering, well meant, usually ends up achieving the reverse of what is intended. At best, the outcome will be increased administrative and compliance costs with no obvious benefit. At worst, it will lead - as an impact assessment commissioned by London's Financial Services Authority warned - to the demise of the industry."

FT: Rothschild OE research OE briefing: Investment trusts


EU's Working Time Directive leaves individual doctors on night shifts looking after up to 400 patients

The Independent reports that a Royal College of Physicians' review of clinical teams in hospitals in England and Wales has revealed that some doctors are responsible for looking after up to 400 patients in hospital at night, since junior doctors were limited to a working week of 48 hours last August, under the European Working Time Directive (EWTD). The Royal College of Surgeons said there was now "overwhelming evidence that safe and effective hospital cover, especially at night, cannot be sustained" under the new European rules.

Mail Independent Open Europe research


Kaletsky: "Any British politician who still believes in joining the euro is either a committed euro-federalist or an economic ignoramus"

Writing in the Times Anatole Kaletsky argues that if Gordon Brown and David Cameron want to "skewer Nick Clegg" in tomorrow's leaders' debate, they should focus on the "much more immediate threat to the country's political independence and economic wellbeing -- the euro." He adds: "To explain why any British politician who still believes in joining the euro is either a committed euro-federalist or an economic ignoramus, the Tories would have to admit that Britain, under Gordon Brown's economic leadership, has actually suffered rather less damage from the financial crisis than most parts of the eurozone."


The FT's Westminster blog notes that, in the case of a hung parliament, experience in other European countries suggests that the junior coalition partner is often given the job of Foreign Minister. The FT's Brussels blog suggests, "For European leaders who had been getting used to the uncomfortable prospect of Tory Rottweilers such as William Hague as foreign secretary and Mark Francois as EU affairs minister, this [rise in the polls by the Lib Dems] is cause for celebration in itself."


Writing in the Mail James Slack argues that the Lib Dems' support for maintaining Britain's role in EU justice institutions such as the European Arrest Warrant and Eurojust "cast a shadow over their otherwise laudable record for defending freedom and civil liberties."

Times: Kaletsky EUobserver FT: Brussels blog FT: Westminster blog Mail: Slack El Pais Bloomberg YouGov poll


French Europe Minister: The EU is stuck talking while the world moves on

Le Monde reports that French Europe Minister Pierre Lellouche yesterday told the press he is "seriously concerned" with Europe's diminishing leverage in world politics, adding: "for the first time, crucial decisions are being taken regardless of Europe's presence in the room...The world moves on, while Europe is discussing". He also complained about the negotiations over the European External Action Service (EEAS), underlining that the EU has been wasting precious time just arguing on "who's going to appoint whom".

Le Monde


IMF calls for new bank taxes to fund future bailouts

The Times reports on a leaked IMF document which calls for two new banking taxes. The first tax would see all institutions paying a bank levy - initially at a flat-rate - to fund future Government support. The second would be a Financial Activities Tax on the sum of the profits and remuneration of financial institutions. On his BBC blog Robert Peston suggests that if the UK were to implement the proposals it would raise between £5bn and £10bn per annum.

Times Telegraph City AM City AM 2 FT BBC BBC: Peston blog


Euractiv notes that the EU's Energy Performance of Buildings Directives and the Energy Labelling Directive have been amended to give MEPs more power over technical amendments made to them, under the rules of the Lisbon Treaty.

EurActiv Open Europe blog


Elections to find a successor to the late Polish President Lech Kaczynski will be held on 20 June.



The Times reports that airlines are being accused of ignoring EU rules on providing compensation to those travellers stranded by the travel ban caused by the Icelandic volcano. Although the Commission insists that passengers' rights do apply, many airlines are only promising to reimburse travellers, rather than provide hotels and food upfront until they can be repatriated.

No link


PA reports that the Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned that the EU's emissions trading scheme (ETS) does not deliver a high enough price for pollution to allow the UK to meet its climate targets. The report warns that, as a result, a range of other more costly policies and support for schemes such as renewables are required - making the price tag for tackling climate higher than it needs to be.

Open Europe research


El Mundo reports that EU Sports Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou said yesterday that the EU will encourage football clubs to spend their money in a more sensible way, but added that the EU would not impose rules on spending.

EUobserver El Mundo ADN


In an interview with TAZ Lorenzo Consoli, President of the international Journalists' Association API, has said that, "The EU Commission thinks it has proven its transparency by providing everything on the internet or broadcasting over satellites. But that is a false sense of transparency. It needs good journalists to filter this flood of information and evaluate the information."




A new Populus poll for the Times puts the Conservatives on 32, the Lib Dems on 31, and Labour on 28.



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