Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Open Europe press summary: 31 August 2010



Budget Commissioner continues to explore EU tax and defends pay increases for EU officials

In an interview with Les Echos, EU Commissioner for Budget Janusz Lewandowski has said that proposals for an EU-wide tax will be unveiled on 29 September. "In total, we are working on eight options. Some of them could create difficulties, such as the levy on financial transactions - which would affect especially London and Frankfurt - or the transfer of revenues from CO2 emissions auctions, which would be done at the expense of Eastern European countries [...] But the tax on aerial transport, for example, would be transnational by its own nature".


When asked about member states' calls for a reduced increase in the 2011 EU budget, Lewandowski commented: "I understand the difficulties of [European] Finance Ministers. But we must not necessarily cut the CAP or the cohesion policy [...] We need above all to reduce administrative expenditures [...] Member states have chosen to attack the increases in EU officials' salaries: targeting the established rights is not the good path, because then we run the risk of clashing with the European Court of Justice. We need above all to prevent the multiplication of new communitarian structures, which - once created - always call for more money and more staff".       


Meanwhile, Handelsblatt reports that Brussels dislikes the financial transaction tax proposed by France and Germany. The paper has seen a report by EU Taxation Commissioner Algirdas Semeta, which notes that such a tax could have "significant negative effects", as it risks increasing the costs for businesses and governments to finance themselves. Commissioner Semeta also points out that the tax would be unevenly distributed, with up to 70 percent of total revenues coming from the UK - while only 15 percent would be raised in Germany and almost nothing in the smaller member states.

Handelsblatt EurActiv


EU Foreign Minister will not participate in Middle East peace talks

It is widely reported that EU Foreign Minister Baroness Catherine Ashton will not take part in the next round of Middle East peace talks to be held next Thursday, due to a previously scheduled visit to China. Following criticisms from French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner - who said it would be a shame if no EU representative attended the talks - Lady Ashton's office defended her trip to Beijing asserting that "it regards the strategic collaboration between EU and China".  


Meanwhile, the News of the World reported on the perks awarded to staff in the EU's new foreign office, the European External Action Service (EEAS), which includes allowances for drivers, entertainment, school fees for children, daily subsistence, household allowance, ex-pat allowance, installation and resettlement allowances. Open Europe's Siân Herbert was quoted saying: "In these tough times, taxpayers' money could be better spent than on lavish perks for EU diplomats in exotic destinations".

News of the World Express


European Arrest Warrant: British antiques dealer sentenced to four years in prison in Greece for selling broken pottery pieces to a visiting dealer in the UK

Saturday's Telegraph reported that an antiques dealer, Malcolm Hay, has been sentenced to four years in prison by Greek authorities under the European Arrest Warrant (EAW). Mr. Hay sold hundreds of broken pottery pieces to a visiting dealer from Athens in 1999 and was arrested by UK police after an EAW was issued claiming the items he sold had been stolen from the Greek state. The apparent crime, "illicit appropriation of an antique object", is not even an offence under British law, the article reported. Mr Hay successfully fought extradition after a magistrate in the UK ruled the alleged wrongdoings happened in Britain and shouldn't have been subject to an EAW.


However, a trial went ahead in Athens and Mr. Hay, represented by a local lawyer, was found guilty and jailed for four years. He has appealed against the verdict and is awaiting a hearing later this year. If he loses the appeal, the extradition process will begin again.


Meanwhile, the Sunday Telegraph noted that unlike some other member states - for example Germany which has a rule stating that only serious crimes can be processed and the EAW - the UK has no safeguards in place to protect British citizens against abuses of the EAW. Karen Todner, a leading extradition lawyer, was quoted saying: "It is typical of us not to have given ourselves proper protection. British judges apply the EAW treaty to the letter and these massive injustices come about because the Government hasn't thought this through".



European Commission plans Barroso-centred communication "revolution";

Communication with citizens "can work only if Commission is perceived as the EU's government"

EurActiv reports that the European Commission is considering an overhaul in its communication strategy. The planned communication "revolution" will aim to achieve greater centralisation of public communications, and a higher degree of "personalisation" of EU policies around Commission President José Manuel Barroso.  A source close to the Commission is quoted arguing that the credibility and the success of the EU project "can work only if the Commission is perceived as the EU's government. We can achieve this by centering our communication on the figure of the [European Commission's] president". The source went on to say: "If the German government announces a project, it is [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel's project. In France, it would be [French President Nicolas] Sarkozy's plan. We have to do the same in Brussels".



Three federations of Dutch pension funds warn that enduring low ECB interest rates threaten Dutch pension system 

Belgian daily De Standaard reports that economists have warned that the current low level of interest rates fixed by the European Central Bank (ECB) could pose a threat to Dutch pension funds and insurers, as they struggle with contracts promising annual returns of 3.75 percent and more, while long term interest rates are lower, even up to 2.13 percent in Germany.


Last week, three federations of Dutch pension funds warned the Dutch Parliament that "if interests remain so low, this will undermine the pension system", according to NRC Handelsblad. Their demands to relax capital standards were rejected by the Dutch government. Fourteen Dutch pension funds could have to cut on their obligations for the first time ever, bringing about a 14 percent loss for 150,000 new pensioners. The Dutch Central Bank argued that pension funds were themselves to blame for lax business policy.

Standaard NRC NRC 2 FD Telegraaf Trends IPE 


Confidence in eurozone increases but ECB fears impact of a US slowdown

Businesses and consumers' confidence in the economy in both the eurozone and the whole EU continued to improve during August although confidence remains unevenly spread across the bloc, according to a monthly survey published by the European Commission on Monday. The FT reports that The European Central Bank (ECB) is expected this week to extend emergency support for eurozone banks until early next year, amid fears that the eurozone might take another hit in case of  a big US or global slowdown. The ECB will also consider whether it should reactivate its controversial government bond purchasing scheme launched in May.

FT EUobserver Le Monde Zero Hedge


Handelsblatt notes that Germany has to expect a huge decrease in EU subsidies for its Eastern Länders. From 2014 on, the EU will reduce its funding of Eastern Germany by up to 65 percent, costing Germany billions of euros and raising Germany's net contribution to the EU budget by 50 percent to a total of €12 billion.



EUobserver reports that former EU Industry Commissioner Gunther Verheugen set up his own public relations consultancy for small and medium-sized enterprises in April, only two months after he officially left his Brussels job.

EUobserver Wirtschaftswoche


In an interview with Italian daily Corriere Della Sera, European Commission's President José Manuel Barroso said that "more coordination among Member States [is] the only credible way to exit the crisis", adding that only through "higher budgetary control and stronger sanctions and incentives it will be possible to achieve stability and growth".  Barroso also defended the euro arguing that the crisis would have been even tougher in the absence of the single currency.

Corriere della Sera


Shoppers across Europe are panic-buying the last remaining stocks of old 75W light bulbs before they are banned throughout the EU next week, Saturday's Telegraph reported.



In the FT, Wolfgang Münchau looks at Germany's growth rate, arguing that due to various strains within the eurozone, "Germany's economic strength is likely to be persistent, toxic and quite possibly self-defeating in the long-run".

FT: Münchau

Handelsblatt reports that controversial remarks on immigration and Jewish people by Bundesbank Board Member Thillo Sarrazin could frustrate Bundesbank President Axel Weber's ambitions to succeed to Jean-Claude Trichet as ECB President next year.

Handelsblatt Guardian NY Times


EurActiv reports that French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner - who is a former high profile humanitarian activist - has said he considered resigning in the wake of the controversy over the repatriation of Roma carried out by the French government. Meanwhile, the European Commission is due to hold a high-level meeting with the French government later today to discuss the controversial repatriation of the Roma.

European Voice FT: Caldwell EurActiv El Mundo


EUobserver reports that during his state visit to Rome, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said the EU should consider giving Libya "at least €5 billion a year" in order for it to halt the flow of EU-bound migrants.

EUobserver Les Echos


Open Europe is an independent think tank campaigning for radical reform of the EU. For information on our research, events and other activities, please visit our website: openeurope.org.uk or call us on 0207 197 2333.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Shimon Peres came to power over Rabin's dead body

Shimon Peres Came to Power Over Rabin's Dead Body
I met Yitzhak Rabin in the Israeli Parliament in 1982 during Hanukkah. I was able to talk with him briefly and mention I was associated with Ambassador College in Pasadena, California.

Avishai Raviv, Eyal, and Yitzhak Rabin
Avishai Raviv was an Israeli government agent provocateur (whose code name was "Champagne" for the bubbles of incitement he created to tarnish the right-wing Israelis) who goaded Yigal Amir to assassinate Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (although this is hotly disputed by investigative reporters like Barry Chamish)...

Vatican Linked to the Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin?
The dark powers of the European Union, under evil influence of the very real German-Jesuit cabal, are intent on ripping out the heart of Israel and sacrificing Israeli sovereignty to their wannabe divine emperor about to take the world by storm, pimped by the sorcerer-pope.

Shimon Peres Charged with the Murder of Yitzhak Rabin?
We, the undersigned, leaders of major Jewish groups and organizations, hereby sorrowfully acknowledge our lack of leadership in pursuit of justice for slain Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

After the Bloodbath (Relations between Germany and Thailand)

After the Bloodbath
(Own report) - In the aftermath of the bloody repression of mass protests in Bangkok, the German government is expanding its economic relations with Thailand. "In spite of the persisting domestic crisis" the Thai economy is booming. According to the German Ministry of the Economy, the Thai economic growth is expected to reach around six percent in 2010, and according to business circles, German enterprises are hoping to significantly expand their businesses in Bangkok. At the beginning of July, the Thai foreign minister visited Berlin to give impetus to bilateral cooperation between the two countries. Thailand's government is being sharply criticized internationally, because it came to power through a military coup and had its military brutally repress mass protests in the capital this spring. Recently lawsuits to have the party of Thai Prime Minister Abhisit and his Foreign Minister Kasit dissolved were initiated. This party is being supported by the German Friedrich Naumann Foundation, which is affiliated with the party of Guido Westerwelle, the German Foreign Minister, and the Minister of the Economy, Rainer Brüderle, with whom Kasit had held talks in Berlin at the beginning of the month.
Network Monarchy
Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya visited Berlin only a matter of weeks after the bloody repression of the Thai democracy movement. From the beginning of March to mid-May, hundreds of thousands had demonstrated in Bangkok demanding immediate new elections. The government called out the soldiers against the demonstrators and used snipers. Nearly 90 people were killed in the course of the repression and almost 2,000 were wounded. Behind the persisting tensions, is the chasm between the elites comprised of the military, big industry, the judiciary and palace circles on the one hand - known among experts as the "Network Monarchy" - and the poverty stricken segments of the population who are growing increasingly rebellious. In 2006, the "Network Monarchy" overthrew the incumbent Prime Minister Thaksin, in a military coup. Thaksin was overthrown because his social policies had won him the support of the poverty stricken rural masses and was therefore seen as a potential danger to the traditional elites. Following complicated intrigues, the Democrat Party took over the government in December 2008, under pressure of the establishment - but without the necessary democratic legitimation, which is why it has been heavily contested ever since.[1]
Partners and Friends
Foreign Minister Kasit, like Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva are not unknowns in Berlin, particularly in the circles of the Free Democratic Party (FDP). Both are members of the Democrat Party, representing the interests of the traditional Thai establishment and closely allied with the FDP, cooperating particularly with the FDP-affiliated Friedrich Naumann Foundation. The "Annual Meeting with Partners and Friends", organized in Bangkok at the end of 2009 by the Naumann Foundation is an example of this cooperation. The meeting was attended by Thai Minister of Finances, Korn Chatikavanij and Foreign Minister Kasit, who presented his government's foreign policy in the keynote address. The speakers at the meeting included the German ambassador to Thailand, Hanns Schumacher (who is also the director of the Naumann office in Bangkok) and Rainer Adam, who thanked the "Thai partners" for their "common engagement for freedom in the threatened democracy".[2] During the period of the mass demonstrations this spring, representatives of the Naumann Foundation were available for talks with the beleaguered Democrat Party, on at least two occasions, giving another indication of the closeness of this cooperation. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[3])
Democracy and Rule of Law
Intimately familiar milieus met when Kasit visited Berlin at the beginning of July and held talks with Foreign Minister Westerwelle (FDP) and Economics Minister Brüderle (FDP). As the foreign ministry subsequently reported, Kasit promised his German counterparts to "make progress in democracy and rule of law" and "pleaded for more German advice and support in this undertaking."[4] It is very well possible that the Friedrich Naumann Foundation will be asked to apply the necessary measures, after all, the foundation had attempted on various occasions in the past to instruct the Democrat Party in strategies for achieving the participation of the people of Thailand in the democratic process.[5] This is meant seriously. Economics Minister Brüderle pointed out to Kasit that only with "democracy" and with "respecting the principles of rule of law" can "permanently stable political relations be established" that "can lead to new investments and long-term economic growth."[6] Kasit was pleading for these investments, when he appeared in Berlin before the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), where he announced a government spending program ("Stability Packet") aimed particularly at infrastructure projects. In these projects, the Thai government is "open for foreign investments."[7]
Strong Growth
This is of interest to German enterprises. About 500 German companies are currently active in Thailand, with a bilateral trade volume at around six billion Euros in 2008. (A slump occurred in the 2009 crisis year). This volume is not particularly high, but it can be improved. Experts are predicting an economic growth of between five and six percent for Thailand this year, which provides a positive perspective for the crisis-ridden German industry for their businesses in Thailand. The business relations with Thailand are also strategically important because in the West, Southeast Asia is considered to be the "back yard" of the People's Republic of China. In Berlin, one hears that more presence must be shown there, to force back Bejing's influence. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[8]) With this intention, the German government finds open ears in the Democrat Party and Prime Minister Abhisit.
Competent Economy Policy
The German Ambassador to Thailand, Hanns Schumacher, delivered therefore a positive assessment of the Abhisit government.[9] It is "one of the region's most competent in economic policy," writes Schumacher, he knows "of not a single German company" "that wants to leave Thailand because of an impending civil war - quite on the contrary." Bayer, for example, is expecting double-digit growth for 2010. Given the preponderant influence of the military, "one can still not speak of a democratic premise for policy," only early elections "could serve as a safety valve for pent up tensions." But Ambassador Schumacher asserted that the government, in any case, was functioning "fully conscious of the problem". According to the diplomat, new elections would thereby bring advantages to both sides. The Democrat Party, "whose merits lie in the economic upswing, being felt by everyone, can, use the astute scheduling of anticipated elections in the public debate to its advantage" while German companies will not only benefit from the economic upswing, but also from the aspired stabilization of the country's situation through the elections.
Threatened With Dissolution
But the possibility that the Democrat Party could be dissolved is annoying from the perspective of the German government and German business. An anti-corruption lawsuit has been initiated, which could lead to an abrupt end of the party's activities. The Friedrich Naumann Foundation and the FDP - including its ministers - would lose a seasoned partner in Thailand, which, even though responsible for a bloodbath, takes care of German interests in that country.
[1] see also Friends of the Monarchy and Das Netzwerk Monarchie
[2] Thailand: Erfolgreiche Kooperation mit der Stiftung; www.freiheit.org
[3] see also Friends of the Monarchy and A Relaxed and Comfortable Putsch
[4] Deutschland unterstützt Thailand auf dem Weg der Versöhnung; www.auswaertiges-amt.de 05.07.2010
[5] see also Friends of the Monarchy
[6] Bundesminister Brüderle trifft den thailändischen Außenminister Kasit Piromya; www.bmwi.de 06.07.2010
[7] Aktuelle außenpolitische Entwicklung in Thailand und zukünftige Politik der Regierung; www.dgap.org
[8] see also "Chinas Hoflieferanten", Den Gürtel schließen, Auf nach Asien! (II) and Anti-China Coalition
[9] Hanns Schumacher: Sorgenkind Thailand? Insight Asia-Pacific Juli 2010

Bosnian-Serb conflict

 How America Helped Hitler Kill Jews....."THE NAZI NEXUS"

DavidBenAriel says:
Bosnian-Serb conflict
I remember when we were being bombarded with how the “Serbs are evil,” and I thought who says so? By what standard? Then The Philadelphia Trumpet began to expose how the United States was fighting Germany and the Vatican’s opposition, how we were betraying our former Serbian allies and supporting our former enemies!

US has Bosnian blood on its hands
A Jewish Albatross: the Serbs
Why are we fighting Germany’s wars?

PC fascists target Thilo Sarrazin?

Thilo Sarrazin, German Banker, Under Fire For 'Racist' Jewish Remark

The gentleman has a right to express himself without fear of retaliation from PC fascists, doesn't he? Obviously his blunt speech has frightened some who would rather remain in denial of the plain truth.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Open Europe press summary: 27 August 2010



Support for the EU falls to a nine year low;

Only 50% of Germans consider EU membership "a good thing" - down 10 points in less than a year

The Commission's Eurobarometer poll, published yesterday, has shown that support for the EU has dropped to its lowest levels in nine years. Only 49 percent of respondents from across Europe considered membership of the EU to be a "good thing" down 4 percentage points from last years poll, while trust in the bloc's institutions has dropped to 42 percent, six points down compared to autumn 2009. 18 percent considered EU membership to be a "bad thing", up from 15 percent last year. In Germany support for the EU fell 10 points to 50 percent, and in France and the Netherlands it fell by five points. The poll was carried out in May during the height of the financial crisis.


Open Europe's Mats Persson is quoted by EurActiv, criticising the Commission's attempt to present the new Eurobarometer poll as an endorsement of giving the EU more powers to monitor national budgets. The Commission's press release claimed that 75 percent of Europeans are in favour of "stronger European economic governance", based on a question asking whether "stronger coordination between EU member states" would be effective in coping with the economic crisis. Mats said, "The question doesn't even mention the EU institutions or even 'governance', only a vague reference to stronger coordination among member states, which is something different. By no stretch of the imagination can this be interpreted as 75% of all Europeans favouring more EU powers to monitor national economies, as the Commission seems to suggest in its press release. What the Commission should really be concerned about is why only 49% of citizens think that EU membership is a good thing."


A comment piece in FAZ also criticises the Commission's presentation of the poll findings, including the claim that almost all Europeans support the Commission's 2020 strategy based on a question whether respondents support "labour market modernisation". Looking at the drop in support for the EU, the article concludes, "only the British are more critical [of the EU] than the Germans...maybe more Europe is not the solution then."

Open Europe blog Eurobarometer EUobserver El Mundo ABC Express Le Figaro EurActiv Focus EU-info EC Press Release Reuters Repubblica


German Constitutional Court's ruling on Mangold case ends by strengthening the ECJ

EUobserver reports that yesterday the Karlsruhe-based German Constitutional Court issued its long-awaited ruling on the Mangold case, clarifying the conditions under which national courts are allowed to challenge decisions taken by the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The case was about a previous decision by the ECJ, which found discriminatory - and therefore inapplicable - a German law allowing employers to give only temporary work to people aged over 52. At the time, the employer referred the matter to the constitutional court claiming that the ECJ had overstepped its powers.


However, the German supreme court yesterday gave the green light to the ECJ ruling, explaining that ECJ decisions can only be re-examined by national tribunals "if the breach of EU competences by the EU authority is obvious and the act in question leads to a structurally significant shift in the arrangement of competences between the member states and the European Union to the detriment of member states".


An article in FAZ titled "Karlsruhe shrinks its own powers", quotes Judge Herbert Landau criticising his colleagues in the German Supreme Court who ruled on the Mangold case. Landau argues that the Luxembourg judges have exceeded their powers, and the Federal Constitutional Court has now abandoned the notion that every judicial act must be democratically legitimised.

EUobserver Spiegel FAZ German Constitutional Court Press Release


An open letter from EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding has called for an investigation into France's repatriation of the Roma people to see if the French government is breaking EU rules on free movement and if sanctions should be applied, reports La Razon

La Razon EUobserver Le Figaro Liberation Nouvel Observateur Euractiv.fr AFP


EU banking regulator issues guidelines for "reverse" stress tests

European Voice reports that yesterday the Committee of European Banking Supervisors (CEBS) announced an overhaul of the criteria for bank stress testing, the first since 2006. One key element of the reform is the introduction of the so-called "reverse stress tests", during which banks would essentially have to pretend that they have failed and look backwards to find out which vulnerabilities led to their hypothetical collapse.

European Voice EurActiv FT Le Figaro    


WSJ: EU proposes budget cuts for everyone else but itself

An opinion piece in the WSJ criticises the EU's 2011 draft budget which proposes a total budget increase of 5.8 percent. The article criticises an op-ed published earlier this week by EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn in the WSJ which made the case for austerity measures in member states, saying: "Still, it would behoove Mr. Rehn's cohorts to recall his wise words, and to remember that the EU's own means are tied to the economic output of its half-billion citizens, which shrank 4.2% last year and is only set to grow 1% this year and 1.7% in 2011. By Mr. Rehn's sound logic, that should make a 5.8% spending increase, or anything close to it, out of the question. Unless the EU is exempt from its own rules". Meanwhile, Daniel Hannan notes on his Telegraph blog: "other budgets face cuts, but our contributions to the EU have risen to £2 million an hour".

WSJ: leader Telegraph blogs: Hannan


In an article in FAZ, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble presents his ideas on financial policy, noting that "in the future we need more efficient ways to intervene in states which endanger stability in Europe [...] Germany and France have made proposals for that. According to those, countries which do no respect the need to rein in excessive budget deficits, would lose access to EU means and would also lose voting rights".

No link


President of American Chambers of Commerce in Germany warns of "growing flood of regulations"

Writing in Handelsblatt, Fred Irwin, who is the President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany, argues that "Europe and the USA are drifting further apart". He argues that "in the US a growing flood of regulations affects the industry [...] But in Germany and Europe it doesn't look much better. The many regulations concern all areas: environment, corporate low, data protection, labour protection, product liability, financial issues, security and corporate governance. Governments on both side of the Atlantic are engaging in a competition and are bidding up against each other with more and more regulations."

Handelsblatt: Irwin


Heise.de reports that the EU wants to set up a database to fight "radicalisation", noting that it targets not just terrorists, but also the far left, the far right, and anti-globalisation activists.



The European Socialist Party (ESP) has launched a campaign to change the way the European Commissioner is elected, proposing a system of primaries in order to create "a democratic pressure" in the EU and to find a strong contender to compete against the likely re-election of the current President José Manuel Durão Barroso in 2014.



AFP reports that Icelandic Minister of Fisheries Jon Bjarnason has described as "preposterous" the European Commission's allegations over mackerel overfishing.



The Greek government has discovered that millions of euros have been paid to deceased pensioners, reports the Guardian.

Le Figaro Guardian


Mallorca Zeitung reports that in order to comply with EU regulations on renewable energy, the Spanish Government is planning to construct wind energy parks on the island of Mallorca, despite facing strong resistance from local residents. 

Mallorca Zeitung


Open Europe is an independent think tank campaigning for radical reform of the EU. For information on our research, events and other activities, please visit our website: openeurope.org.uk or call us on 0207 197 2333.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Open Europe press summary: 26 August 2010



The Commission wants a 7.6% increase in EU budget by 2013

The Telegraph reports that the EU's budget could rise by more than £8.8 billion to £125 billion in 2013 - a 7.6 percent rise on this year's spending levels, if European Commission's proposals are approved. The increase will mean that the British contribution to the EU rises to £10.3 billion over the next three years, the article notes.


The Commission also wants to increase its spending on administration by 15 percent, taking the cost up to £3.2 billion and give pay rises worth 5.3 percent to EU officials by the end of 2011 under automated wage adjustments. The proposed budget increase, spelled out in Commission documents, comes in spite of calls from the UK and other member states for cuts in the budget to reflect the austerity measures taking place elsewhere.  ''The Government remains concerned that the commission's proposal for an increase in the 2011 EU budget is out of step with the situation across the EU's member states and at a time when so many European countries are tightening their belts, the EU should do the same," said a spokesman for the UK government. Open Europe's Director Mats Persson is quoted saying: "People and governments across Europe are fed up with the EU being the only public body protected from spending cuts."



EU Foreign Minister will be allowed to speak on behalf of the EU at the UN General Assembly

EurActiv reports that the United Nations will grant EU Foreign Minister Baroness Catherine Ashton the right to speak on behalf of the EU at the UN General Assembly ahead of its 64th session, scheduled for 15 September. So far, the EU has only been allowed observer status within the UN. Polish daily Rzeczpospolita notes that France and the UK - permanent members of the UN Security Council - were initially reluctant, but eventually gave the go-ahead to a compromise whereby Lady Ashton will have the right to speak on the EU's behalf in the General Assembly but not in the Security Council.


Meanwhile, Open Europe's Siân Herbert is quoted in the Mail and on page 2 of the Express commenting on the prospective £8 million that the the EU is considering to spend per year to lease the new European External Action Service (EEAS) headquarters in Brussels. "The ballooning costs of the EU's new foreign service are becoming an increasing burden on British taxpayers and stand in sad contrast to the cuts facing the UK's Foreign Office, which does a much better job of representing UK citizens' interests throughout the world", she said.

EurActiv Mail Express Express 2


Swedish Parliament tries to get Commission to reconsider a proposal in first test of new provisions in the Lisbon Treaty;

Mandatory lending between member states under revised Deposit Guarantee Schemes Directive violates of the subsidiarity principle

The Swedish Parliament, the Riksdag, has announced it will oppose the Commission's proposed amendments to the Deposit Guarantee Schemes Directive. Under the amended Directive, deposit guarantee schemes must offer depositors up to €50,000, if their bank collapses. The schemes are to be 75 per cent pre-funded from bank contributions, with the remainder coming from additional contributions from other sources. However, the Treasury Committee of the Riksdag argued that the Commission wants to oblige member states to lend money to other member states which don't manage to fund a deposit scheme on their own. The Riksdag, going against the government, said that this represents a violation of the EU's subsidiarity principle. It will now seek to stop the proposal under a provision in the Lisbon Treaty which obliges the Commission to reconsider, but not scrap, the proposal if one third of national parliaments object to it, within a window of eight weeks.

Europaportalen Press release from the Riksdag


Ireland must now pay more than Greece to borrow

It is widely reported that yesterday's credit rating downgrade by Standard and Poor's has forced Ireland to auction off €600 million today in treasury bills. Ireland is rapidly being seen by economists as the second riskiest country in the eurozone after Greece, reports the Guardian. In his Telegraph blog, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard notes that Ireland must now pay more than Greece to borrow and argues: "To add insult to injury Ireland is having to subsidize Greece to meet its share of the rescue fund". Bloomberg reports that the difference in yield between Irish and German 10-year bonds climbed to a record 345 basis points today.


Meanwhile, an op-ed in the WSJ by Philip Whyte, senior research fellow at the Center for European Reform, argues: "Far from spurring economic liberalization, the euro's introduction may even have slowed it [...] [Eurozone members] saw the euro as a shield, rather than a corset imposing disciplines of its own. In effect, they believed that the euro offered them a free lunch".

Independent Guardian Guardian 2 Irish Independent IHT WSJ: Whyte Bloomberg Irish Independent 2 Telegraph: Evans-Pritchard Zero Hedge


Merkel rejects calls for relaxed debt criteria and restates need for Treaty change

AFP reports that yesterday, during a joint press conference held with Slovakian Prime Minister Iveta Radicova in Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany is opposed to any softening of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) criteria for debt assessment. "I prefer that we learn the lessons from the crisis and work on Treaty changes in order to have sanctions against violations of the [Stability and Growth] pact", she said.


FAZ reports that Angela Merkel has also urged to end skirmishes between the Slovakian government and European Commissioner Olli Rehn on the Greek bailout. "Both will undoubtedly get along with each other and have a chat", she said. This follows the refusal of the European Commission to apologise for Olli Rehn's harsh criticisms of Slovakia after its Parliament refused to take part in the €110 billion aid package for Greece.



Commissioner for Budget is working on an EU tax "like a scientist in a lab", a spokesman says

EurActiv quotes Patrizio Fiorilli, a spokesman for EU Commissioner for Budget Janusz Lewandowski, commenting on media coverage of Lewandowski's proposals to introduce an EU-wide tax to fund the EU budget directly. He describes recent reports as "a distortion of the truth", adding that "we are not working on a direct EU tax". However, Mr. Fiorilli goes on to say: "[Commissioner Lewandowski] is just a scientist in a lab examining four samples" - a carbon tax, an air travel tax, a tourism tax and a financial transactions tax. He also notes that a levy on financial transactions could end to be the preferred option, as it is uncomplicated to administer, politically acceptable and does not impose "any further fiscal burden on member states". 



De Morgen reports that yesterday night five activists from the group Désobéissance Civile Belgique occupied a crane in the centre of Brussels to protest against the Treaty of Lisbon, which according to them "rejects the European member states and has been ratified without consulting the citizens". They attached a banner to the crane criticising the "antidemocratic move" of the EU. They also argue in a communication that no referendum has been held on the euro and that EU President Herman Van Rompuy was elected without elections.

De Morgen


Le Point reports that a new opinion poll conducted by IPSOS has shown that 62 percent of French citizens are planning to vote against Nicolas Sarkozy at the next presidential elections, to be held in 2012.

Le Point


EUobserver notes that according to Charlie Miller - a mathematician who served for five years at the US National Security Agency (NSA) - €86 million and 750 hackers would be enough to launch a devastating cyber attack on the EU.





Tackling exchange rate volatility will be a priority for France G20 Presidency, Sarkozy says

It is widely reported that French President Nicolas Sarkozy has identified excessive exchange rate and commodity price volatility, along with the introduction of a global financial transaction tax, as priority issues for the upcoming French G20 Presidency, due to start in January 2011. Sarkozy is quoted by EurActiv saying "Who would challenge the fact that exchange rate instability poses a major threat to global economic growth?". He scaled down his initial proposals for a "new Bretton Woods" and the reintroduction of fixed exchange rates. However, he said: "What we surely need to do is go further and map out a new framework for consultation on exchange rate developments". The WSJ notes that Sarkozy also argued that the G20 needs to work on improving the transparency of agricultural markets, as well as on the creation of insurance instruments by international financial institutions aimed at helping importing countries protect themselves against price volatility.

EurActiv Les Echos FT WSJ Nouvel Observateur Euractiv.fr


Open Europe is an independent think tank campaigning for radical reform of the EU. For information on our research, events and other activities, please visit our website: openeurope.org.uk or call us on 0207 197 2333.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Obama fails to come clean about his birth certificate

Regardless of how often Obama's puppets attempt to play the American people for fools, repeating the big lie that Barack Hussein Obama's aides posted his birth certificate, a COLB is not a long form birth certificate! Such efforts to mislead have been exposed.

“In response to a direct question from WND, the Hawaii Department of Health refused to authenticate either of the two versions of President Obama’s short-form Certificate of Live Birth, or COLB, posted online – neither the image produced by the Obama campaign nor the images released by FactCheck.org" (Hawaii refuses to verify president's online COLBs).

Which hospital was Obama supposedly born in? Not a single hospital in Hawaii claims him as their own! Which doctor supposedly delivered him? These legitimate questions remain. When will responsible media address them? Obama has yet to come clean about his birth certificate. The president usurper must be called to an accounting!

Open Europe press summary: 25 August 2010



Ashton's EU foreign service in talks to move to new €10m a year office

EUobserver reports that the EU is in talks to lease the so-called 'Triangle building' in Brussels for its new diplomatic service, with EU Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton's new office likely to look over the Commission and Council buildings. The Commission is expected to lease 50,000 square metres of the 60,000 square metre block for at least 15 years at a cost of around €10 million a year. Lady Ashton's European External Action Service (EEAS) will fill most of the space, with some room left for assorted Commission departments. "It's important for [Lady Ashton] to have her own premises, so that if she calls a meeting everybody is close to hand, but also to make the right impression when visitors come," an EU official said.



Wilhelm Hankel: Eurozone bailouts are "sinking money into a barrel without a bottom"

German Economics Professor Wilhelm Hankel has written to German Chancellor Angela Merkel arguing that the Greek bailout "is a case of breaking the law in the most severe way." He says of the wider €750bn eurozone bailout package, "Germany and the few other still economically stable countries in the Eurozone are sinking money into a barrel without a bottom." Professor Hankel, with four other professors, is co-sponsoring a legal challenge to the Greek bailout at the German Constitutional Court.

Hankel's letter (German) Hankel's letter (English)


Slovak PM: "When democratically elected politicians raise criticisms they have the right to do so. But European administrators do not have this right, not under any circumstances."

FAZ and Die Welt feature interviews with Slovak Prime Minister Iveta Radicová discussing the Greek bailout package. Radicová is quoted in Die Welt saying, "we show solidarity and take on responsibility...but we don't want people who acted irresponsibly to get money." When commenting on EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Ollie Rehn's public criticism for not taking part in the bailout she says: "the way in which [he], a non-elected official from Brussels, spoke about the freely elected members of the Slovakian parliament was insulting. I will demand an official apology for this from Brussels during my visit to Berlin".


"Europe must not be constituted by a big brother and many satellites which have to obey the larger, more powerful and wealthier. We remember very well what it means to be a satellite...I don't want to compare, I only want to highlight that democracy also means to listen to the arguments of those who may be very small but are aware of their responsibilities", she says in FAZ. She continues: "Talk that Slovakia is acting irresponsibly must stop. To say it in all clarity: When democratically elected politicians raise criticisms they have the right to do so. But European administrators do not have this right, not at any time".

Welt AFP Dow Jones Les Echos Wirtschaftspresse


France and Germany support limited EU budget increase

Le Figaro reports that yesterday French Budget Minister François Baroin held talks with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble in Berlin. The two ministers agreed to fight side by side to ensure that the increase in the next EU budget be limited at 2.9 percent from the previous year, instead of the 5.9 percent initially proposed by the European Commission. Mr. Baroin is quoted by Reuters saying: "We can't ask for deficit reduction on the one hand, to adhere to the logic of the stability pact, and on the other hand make demands for increases which are objectively inadmissible. We confirmed this point". He continues: "I will take the same steps with my British colleagues in a few days so that the largest contributors [to the EU budget] are heard". Two weeks ago the UK voted against this reduced increase together with six other member states, calling for deeper cuts to the overall EU budget for 2011.  

Le Figaro Les Echos Reuters OE blog


EU member states continue to disagree on financial transaction tax and bank levy proposals

Handelsblatt reports that there is a fight ongoing in the EU about proposals for a financial transaction tax. Finance ministers are planning to come to an agreement on the issue in the Ecofin meeting on 7 September. France and Germany are in favour, but are isolated as "the UK and Sweden are strictly opposed. And all the other member states are silent", according to diplomatic sources. EU Commissioner for Internal Market and Services Michel Barnier has so far only expressed support for a bank levy. Although all member states agree on a bank levy in principle, there are disagreements over how to implement it in practice. The German government only wants the tax to cover national banks, whereas the UK Government favours a tax on all banks based in a member state, whether foreign owned or not.



EU Commissioner for Economic and monetary affairs Olli Rehn announced yesterday in an interview with Bloomberg that the EU will discuss plans to initiate regular banking 'stress tests' to build confidence in the EU's financial sector.

Bloomberg Expansion El Pais Handelsblatt Reuters Italia


Finnish paper Helsingin Sanomat reports on a conference held by the UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and the Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Stubb. Stubb is quoted saying "There is no natural space for the EU in a multipolar world" and that "a gradual waning of human rights policy and a reduction of our influence are in sight as others grow tired of preaching by the EU".

Helsingin Sanomat


Rating agency Standard & Poor lowered Ireland's credit rating from AA- to AA explaining that "the rising budgetary cost will weaken the government's fiscal flexibility over the medium term".

ZeroHedge Les Echos Les Echos 2 Telegraph


Euractiv reports that, in a leaked opinion paper, the ECJ has said that the proposed unified EU patent is incompatible with the EU Treaties.



The Hungarian Economy Ministry confirmed yesterday that Budapest will resume talks with the International Monetary Fund over the country's loan program in the autumn.



Writing in the WSJ, Iain Martin argues that due to Germany's strong economic position, "in European terms, [Chancellor Angela Merkel] is very much in the driving seat".

WSJ: Martin


Europe's trade unions have announced that they are organising an EU-wide day of protest on 29 September against government austerity measures.

European Voice


EUobserver reports that according to an EU diplomatic source, Belgium, which currently holds the rotating EU Presidency, may reject France's invitation to a ministerial meeting for fear that Paris wants to use the event to support its position on the Roma people.

El Mundo EUobserver Telegraph The Parliament Il Giornale Euractiv.fr Liberation Le Point AFP Le Figaro


A leader in Handelsblatt attacks the low interest rates currently maintained by central banks, arguing that "growth is being stimulated by central banks, who are pumping money into the market around the globe, as if there were no tomorrow. The interest rates are far too low".

Handelsblatt Leader



Open Europe is an independent think tank campaigning for radical reform of the EU. For information on our research, events and other activities, please visit our website: openeurope.org.uk or call us on 0207 197 2333.