Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Open Europe press summary: 26 January 2011


MPs to discuss crucial crime, justice and immigration amendments to EU Bill
MPs will today debate the Government’s EU Bill for the third consecutive day. Attention will turn to EU crime, justice and immigration laws, with MPs discussing amendments that could radically increase Parliament’s democratic control over which EU laws the Government can ‘opt in’ to. The UK’s 2014 right to opt out of around 100 EU crime and policing laws is also expected to be discussed. Open Europe has called for a referendum on the 2014 opt out and fully supports the amendments that would grant Parliament, and in some cases voters, via a referendum, more control over deciding which EU justice and immigration laws apply to the UK.
Last night the Government helped to amend the Bill to close loopholes in the ‘referendum lock’ that could have potentially allowed referenda to be avoided on the UK taking part in a European Public Prosecutor and the loss of the UK’s vetoes over certain foreign policy decisions.
Open Europe blog Open Europe press release Open Europe briefing
Germans’ trust in the EU hits all-time low
FAZ reports on a poll conducted by the Allensbach Institute, showing that German citizens’ trust in the EU has fallen to an all-time low. 63% of respondents had "little or no trust" in the EU, up from 51% in March 2010. Only 25% had “very large or large trust" in European integration, down from 37% ten months ago. 68% of respondents had “little or no trust” in the single currency, almost back to the level of 16 years ago. Only 4% could correctly answer the question “Who is Herman Van Rompuy?”
FAZ Allensbach Institute
IMF: Eurozone crisis is the biggest threat to global economy;
Bloomberg poll: 59% think one or more members of the eurozone will leave the currency by 2016
An IMF report released yesterday warns that a deepening of the economic crisis in the eurozone is the biggest threat to the global economy. A poll conducted by Bloomberg, of 1,000 investors, analysts and traders, reveals that 59% think one or more members of the eurozone will leave the currency by 2016, 11% think this will happen within 12 months.
The WSJ reports that yesterday’s debut bond auction to fund the EFSF was nine times oversubscribed; bids were received for over €40bn at yields of 2.89%. El Pais reports that the Spanish government’s decision to inject only €20bn into the cajas yesterday has been received critically by investors. Rating agency Moody's has estimated that the cajas lacks €89bn in capital, reports FAZ.
The Irish Times reports that, ahead of today’s vote in the Irish Parliament, three independent MPs, crucial to the government’s majority, have threatened to withdraw their support for the Finance Bill unless changes are made. A separate article in the paper reports that Germany may concede on lower-interest loans to Ireland and other peripheral eurozone countries if they agree to establish a cap on budget deficit in their constitutions.
Les Echos reports that yesterday EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn travelled to Berlin to discuss the possibility of increasing the size and scope of the EFSF with some high-profile members of the FDP, the junior partner of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government. However, FAZ notes that Rehn failed to persuade German Foreign Minister and FDP leader Guido Westerwelle. 
Meanwhile, writing in Wirtschaftswoche, Director of the IFO Institute Hans-Werner Sinn argues that calls for an increase of the EFSF are dangerous, adding that they hide the EU’s desire to take over a part of the old debt of troubled member states.
City AM City AM Bottom Line City AM EurActiv City AM WSJ WSJ 2 WSJ 3 WSJ 4 WSJ 5 Irish Times Les Echos Le Monde Irish Times Público City AM FT: Spiegel Le Monde: Ricard BBC: Hewitt Irish Independent: McWilliams El Pais El Pais 2 Irish Times Bloomberg Jornal de Negocios Económico Expansion FT DeutschlandFAZ
Die Welt reports that Germany’s FederalAssociation for Renewable Energies has claimed that it is untrue that an EU-wide harmonised support system for green energy would mean lower prices for consumers. Managing Director Bjoern Klusmann notes that studies have estimated that the implementation costs of EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger’s favoured single support system could be between €50bn and €90bn across the EU.
On his EUobserver blog, Bruno Waterfield cites Open Europe’s blog post criticising European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek for his comparison between the European Parliament’s two seats and national monarchies in terms of symbolic importance.
OE blog EUobserver: Waterfield 
Handelsblatt reports that EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding’s proposals to introduce a common EU system of contract law alongside that of the member states is facing cross-party opposition in the German Bundestag, as well as among businesses and consumers’ associations.
In a comment piece in Le Monde, EU Competition Commissioner Joaquín Almunia argues: “To let people believe that ‘protecting’ our firms from competition, especially when it comes from non-European firms, we are making them more competitive internationally, is wrong and dangerous for the future of our economy.”
Le Monde: Almunia
The Independent reports that David Petrie, a Scottish lecturer at Verona University in Italy, has asked MEPs for support in opposing a new Italian law reforming the education system. Petrie claims that the new law will deprive non-Italian lecturers working in Italian universities of basic rights, including the right to equal treatment and the right to due process of law.
EUobserver reports that EU Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes has raised "serious doubts" about Hungary's new media law in a letter to Budapest and has given the government a two-week ultimatum to explain itself.
EUobserver FT Brussels Blog
Euractiv reports that the European Parliament will fast-track the vote on the EU patent despite numerous unresolved issues and the fact that this process has never before been used for an internal market policy.


The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show that the UK economy contracted by 0.5% in the last quarter prompting fears of a double dip recession. UK Chancellor George Osborne put the fall chiefly down to the snow, however, the ONS suggested that GDP growth would likely have remained flat even without the impact of the bad weather.
FT Telegraph Guardian
An article in the FT suggests that, despite being a good first step, the Franco-British defence accord still leaves much to be desired when it comes to tackling global security issues.

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The latest on the EU ‘referendum lock’: This is why the EU Bill should be amended
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