Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Open Europe press summary: 17 August 2010



Spanish banks likely to remain on ECB life-support "for years to come"

Bloomberg reports that Spanish banks borrowed a record €130bn from the European Central Bank in July, accounting for 29 percent of total borrowing from the ECB. Gary Jenkins of London-based Evolution Securities Ltd is quoted saying, "The amount needed is likely to remain elevated for years to come."


The Irish Times reports that yields remain high on Irish government bonds ahead of today's scheduled €1-€1.5 billion auction. The cost of insuring Irish government debt now surpasses that of Portugal, amid concerns over Ireland's "biggest-in-Europe" budget deficit and the very high costs of bailing out the banking sector. The Telegraph notes that inflation in the eurozone has risen to a 20-month high.


Meanwhile, an editorial in the WSJ reads, "Last week, Slovakia's new centre-right government voted to pull out of Team Greek Bailout. For this perfectly sensible decision, it is now being scolded by the Brussels bureaucracy for lacking appropriate respect for 'European solidarity.'"

WSJ: Barley WSJ: Editorial Bloomberg FT EurActiv Telegraph EurActiv.es Welt ANSA La Tribune La Tribune 2 Irish Times OE blog


German Commissioner fails to complete declaration of interests for third time

Euractiv reports that EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger has already had to resubmit his declaration of interests three times, and it has still not been approved. Spiegel reports that German Management Consultant Andreas Frank has pressed charges in Stuttgart against Oettinger for lying in his affidavit, which would constitute a criminal offence. Oettinger is the only Commissioner who had to resubmit his declaration of interests.

EurActiv Stern Euractiv.de


The Mail reports that the Policy Exchange think tank has calculated that the cost to UK business and households of meeting various climate change policies, including the EU's emissions trading scheme, could be as high as £16.3bn in 2020.

Mail Mail 2 Policy Exchange report


In an article in FT Deutschland, Dennis Kessler, Chairman and CEO of global reinsurer SCOR Group, argues that "the current version of Solvency II [the EU's capital requirements directive] is the best way to push the insurance industry into a catastrophe."



Commission to propose EU crisis response force following Sarkzoy's proposal

Euractiv reports that the EU's Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva will present a proposal to reinforce the EU's capacity to respond to crises, the European Commission said yesterday. The announcement follows calls for an "EU reaction force" from French President Nicolas Sarkozy, inspired by the floods in Pakistan.


ORF features an interview with Georgieva and the article notes that although Sarkozy didn't openly state that this force should have a military character, Georgieva understood it in this sense. Instead the EU Commissioner wants to use and bundle the existing means for disaster control. "Many countries have extremely effective civil protection mechanisms. My task is to make the whole larger than the sum of its parts," she said.

EUobserver EurActiv ORF Zeit Welt


Commission proposes stronger regulation of financial conglomerates

EUobserver reports that the European Commission has proposed tighter regulation of financial conglomerates, which usually have activities in more than one country and operate in both the insurance and banking businesses.

Reuters AFP EUobserver EurActiv.es Europa Press Welt Handelsblatt Dow Jones


The WSJ looks at the negotiations between the member states and the European Commission on the size of the EU budget increase for 2011, noting that the biggest fights will be over the new External Action Service and the Commission's administration budget.

WSJ Open Europe blog


A report released yesterday by a group of IMF economists consulted by the European Commission criticised Germany's unilateral ban on naked short-selling, arguing that "there is little evidence" of the effectiveness of the decision. The document also pointed out that such a ban would prove largely unworkable even if it were coordinated at the EU-level.

Le Point


In a comment piece for EUobserver, Kosovo's Prime Minister Hashim Thaci has urged reluctant EU member states to change their positions on Kosovo's independence, following the latest ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). "Kosovo's declaration of independence is not a precedent, and attempts to argue that the Court concluded otherwise or that its ruling opens a Pandora's Box are wrong", he argued.

EUobserver: Thaci


An op-ed by Jamie Smyth in the Irish Times reports on recent Irish Department of Justice statistics showing that the number of non-EU nationals applying for residency based on marriage to EU citizens has doubled since 2006.

Irish Times  Irish Times 2


On the Conservative Home website, Dalibor Rohac of the Legatum Institute think tank argues that the proposed EU-wide tax "is profoundly misguided" noting, "only slightly more than 10% of the total budget is used towards projects which are at least nominally aimed at improving competitiveness for growth and employment".

Conservative Home: Rohac


Handelsblatt writes that eight eastern European member states plus Sweden want the EU to soften its debt rules. In a letter to the Commission, the countries insist on being allowed to deduct government subsidies for pension schemes from public debt calculations.



An op-ed in the Mirror criticises the EU for fining UK organisations £150m for not displaying the EU flag on EU funded projects.

Mirror: Carroll




Lord Pearson of Rannoch stands down as UKIP party leader

The Guardian reports that Lord Pearson of Rannoch is standing down as leader of UKIP after one year in office. This morning, Nigel Farage MEP, the former leader of UKIP, did not rule out standing for party leadership again. Meanwhile, on Conservative Home, Tim Montgomerie argues that "the Coalition does present a right-of-centre party with real opportunities. Cameron has had to ditch positions on Europe, defence, immigration and crime as part of his arrangement with Nick Clegg. One Tory minister recently confided that UKIP could win 10% or more first preference votes under AV if Eurosceptic Tory voters knew that they could safely do this as a protest while putting the Conservatives as their second choice".

Guardian Conservative Home: Montgomerie Iain Dale's diary


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