Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Open Europe press summary: 7 July 2010

Open Europe is holding an event in conjunction with Policy Exchange in London on Monday 12 July from 2 - 4pm, entitled "EU supervision and regulation in the securities markets: Will one size fit all?" Speaking at the event will be: María Teresa Fábregas Fernández, European Commission; Kay Swinburne MEP; and William Underhill, Slaughter & May - Chairman of the City of London Law Society's Company Law Committee. The event will be chaired by Open Europe Director Mats Persson.


Places are limited. If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Vincenzo Scarpetta on 0044 (0)207 197 2333 or




German professors expand legal attack to entire €440bn eurozone aid package

Handelsblatt reports that the five professors who have filed a complaint against the €60bn eurozone credit facility have expanded their legal attack to the €440bn eurozone aid package as well. The legal complaint identifies several infractions, both against the German Constitution and the EU Treaties, arguing that financial aid would not be "democratically legitimate" and would be "a clear breach of the concept of stability as enshrined in the Constitution and the Treaties". They conclude, "The Constitutional Court will not deny success to this claim, if it follows the law." Speaking at a press conference today, Professor Karl Albrecht Schachtschneider said: "a Treaty is a Treaty". Professor Wilhelm Hankel added: "have we got a new European Union now, a new Monetary Union, a Transfer Union? That would endanger us with inflation", with Professor Joachim Starbatty saying: "the Constitutional Court should hold the law dear, and not what is politically opportune."

Handelsblatt Legal Complaint Open Europe blog 


EP vote on new European financial supervisors postponed until September;

MEPs want ESAs to have the last word over national authorities

The European Parliament decided yesterday to postpone until September its vote on the new system of European financial supervisors, after MEPs fell short of reaching a political agreement with the Council on some crucial aspects of the proposal, especially on the possibility for the new European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) to overrule national supervisors. An EU source quoted by Reuters France explained: "A vote will take place [today] on the amendments tabled by the European Parliament, but the text will not be formally voted on in first reading before September".


EUobserver reports that EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn said, "I am still delighted by the clear willingness shown by all to reach an agreement by September".


Reuters France notes that EU finance ministers will hold their monthly meeting next Tuesday, where the Belgian EU Presidency will propose a compromise text which will reportedly reflect more of the EP's stance. FAZ reports that a key question is whether finance ministers are prepared to agree on a compromise deal without the UK - which is possible under qualified majority rules - although the Belgian Presidency will first try to find a solution with the British.


Meanwhile, in an interview with Le Figaro, French MEP Jean-Paul Gauzès - the EP rapporteur on the controversial AIFM Directive - argues: "The European Council refuses to concede even the smallest real power to the three European authorities envisaged by the de Laroisière report for banks, insurance and securities markets. On the contrary, we want to give them the power to mediate between national competences and, if necessary, the possibility to take decisions in emergency situations. The Parliament will not give in, because this is the least we owe to Europe". Mr. Gauzès also points out that "resistance [to the proposals] is being put up above all by the UK. But behind all that, there is also the Council's clear will to deal with the crisis among governments rather than together with the EU institutions. This is also true for France".


Belgian Liberal MEP Guy Verhofstadt is quoted by EurActiv claiming that "there will be no agreement with the European Parliament if the Council cannot accept that the last word on financial supervision belongs to the new supervisory authorities".     

Reuters France Le Figaro AFP El Mundo City AM EUobserver EurActiv FT Handelsblatt Knack GazetaWyborcza OE press release


Barroso: Future of the European Project 'at stake' in talks on economic government;

Liberal leader in the EP: "Member States were never able to supervise themselves, and they will not in the future"

The Irish Times reports that Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has told MEPs, in talks to bolster EU economic governance, "What is at stake is the future of the euro and you could say to some extent the future of our European project".


Dutch MEP Corien Wortmann-Kool of the centre-right EPP group said, "We want a stronger and more independent role for the Commission." The EP's Liberal group leader, Guy Verhofstadt, supported the idea of a strong role for the Commission. "The main question is - who is going to be responsible for managing economic governance? Will it be the Council? The Member States? Or an EU body? For the European Parliament it is clear: it must be an EU body. The Member States were never able to supervise themselves, and they will not in the future."

Irish Times EP press release Open Europe research


MEPs approve compensation plan for travelling passengers

MEPs yesterday approved a regulation, due to come into force in 2012, that will give ferry and boat passengers the right to be rerouted or to have the cost of their ticket reimbursed in cases of cancellation or delays of more than 90 minutes, as well as additional compensation of 25 percent of the ticket price. Operators will be forced to pay for accommodation expenses up to €80 per night if passengers have to stay overnight because of delays. Operators will, however, be exempt from all of these obligations in case of circumstances that they cannot influence, such as extreme weather conditions.


However similar draft rules, also approved yesterday by MEPs, for citizens travelling by local buses or coaches have come under criticism - with member states to engage in further talks over the bill to try to exempt smaller operators. A Confederation of Passenger Transport UK spokesman warned of a "pretty drastic" impact on local services, with significant increase in costs for operators.

Telegraph BBC EUobserver EurActiv The Parliament


European Parliament expected to approve Swift agreement

It is widely reported that the European Parliament is tomorrow expected to rubber-stamp the revised Swift Agreement on the data sharing of bank transactions. Only the Greens are expected to oppose the revised version, to which the European Commission has inserted extra privacy provisions. EUobserver reports that the Parliament is bracing itself for an even tougher battle on US access to personal information on air passengers.

Independent EUobserver EurActiv European Voice


Fischer: Who lost Turkey?

Writing in Le Figaro, under the headline, "Who lost Turkey?", former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer argues: "After the shift of government between Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy in France and between Gerhard Schröder and Angela Merkel in Germany, Turkey has been first strung along and then abandoned by the EU".


Meanwhile, in an interview with Reuters Turkish Prime Minister Abdullah Gül says the EU is putting "artificial obstacles" in the way of Turkey's accession to the EU.

Le Figaro Nouvel Observateur


Commission says that banks can only tap eurozone bailout money through member states in need

Handelsblatt reports that, following Commissioner Olli Rehn's comments in the European Parliament that that the eurozone aid package could be used for struggling banks as well, a Commission spokesman yesterday clarified that the money could only be tapped when a member state tried to access the bailout package because of impending financial needs, and couldn't finance a bank bailout on its own.

Handelsblatt Reuters Zero Hedge


The WSJ reports that the EU's banking supervisor, the Committee of European Banking Supervisors, will issue a press release today detailing the methodology of forthcoming stress tests on Europe's banks.

WSJ Guardian


Il Sole 24 Ore reports that Italy is ready to veto new proposals from EU Commissioner for Internal Market Michel Barnier for the introduction of a single European patent, which would be translated only into English, French and German - unless Italian is included. The article notes that Spain is on the same wavelength as Italy and will probably also call for the inclusion of Spanish.

Il Sole 24 Ore


The FT Lex column looks at the ECB's controversial government bond buying programme and argues that "allowing its activities to continue in an information and policy vacuum is dangerous, especially if what was introduced as a short-term solution to a short-term problem turns out to have unexpected long-term consequences."



The EU has banned most of the aircraft used by Iran Air from entering EU air space over safety concerns.



The FT reports that industrial orders in Germany rose 2.8% in April, compared to the month before, and are almost 30 percent higher than the previous year.



De Volkskrant reports that the EU is to spend €4.2 million promoting the consumption of mushrooms. That money will be matched by the mushroom producing sector.



Die Welt reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has embarked on an FDP charm offensive, but that such overtures may be too late, as a recent RTL-Stern poll shows that the ruling CDU-FDP coalition is as unpopular as ever, coming 22 points behind all other parties combined.

Die Welt Die Welt 2 Handelsblatt


El Mundo reports that the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday approved the deal on the organisation and operation of the EU's new diplomatic service, two weeks after it was agreed upon in Madrid. The EEAS is expected to become official after the summer recess and start recruiting in the autumn. 

El Mundo EurActiv


The Telegraph reports on Italian MEP Mario Borghezio's continuing battle to set up an 'X Files' archive containing information on UFOs, and quotes him saying that European governments should stop the "systematic cover-up." He is seeking the support of other MEPS, but so far has collected only 18 signatures.

AP HLN Telegraph


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