Monday, August 16, 2010

Open Europe press summary: 16 August 2010



Nicolas-Jean Brehon: "Britons can bet that their EU budget rebate will come under unusual pressure"

In an opinion piece for Le Monde, Nicolas-Jean Brehon from the Robert Schuman Foundation looks at the upcoming negotiations on the EU budget and argues: "If member states do not want to pay more or accept a new [EU] tax, then, in order to launch new policies, one will need to review the structure of the [EU] budget and trim the 'money-eating' items, i.e. farm subsidies, the British rebate and maybe the regional funds themselves [...] Our British friends can start betting. France, the first beneficiary of CAP, is no longer isolated on the agricultural dossier. If France proves able to share [farm subsidies with new member states], the CAP budget will be safe. On the contrary, the British rebate [...] will presumably come under attack more than usual. Thanks to this arrangement, the UK receives more money from other member states than from EU common policies. It is an unquestionable budgetary anomaly. There are many overtones hidden in the Commission's project [for an EU tax]".

Le Monde


Prospects of two-speed recovery cast a shadow over eurozone growth

It is widely reported that, according to experts, the risk of a two-speed recovery lays beneath the surface of the eurozone's fastest growth rate in more than three years. The FT quotes Carsten Brzeski of ING arguing: "It's the same old story: Germany in a league of its own, carrying a few of its neighbours along; and beneath that, the laggards that are teetering on the brink of recession". Figures released last Friday showed that Germany's economy grew by 2.2 percent in the second quarter of 2010, in stark contrast to Spain and Portugal - which grew both by 0.2 percent - and Greece, which experienced a 1.5 percent contraction.


Ambrose Evans-Pritchard writes in the Telegraph that the "data is cruelly double-edged [...] Germany surged ahead with an undervalued currency, exporting Mercedes and BMWs to China. While Spain, Italy, and Portugal are being left ever further behind in a split-level union with an overvalued currency".


Meanwhile, a leader in the Times argues that, while the monetary union is benefitting Germany, the latter is imposing a heavy adjustment cost on weaker economies. Reflecting on Britain's own budgetary problems, the article concludes that "matters would be worse still if Britain had ever signed up to the ill-conceived venture of monetary union".


The WSJ also reports that despite strong German growth, its workers are not getting any richer. The article notes that one recent poll found that four out of five Germans say they aren't personally benefiting from the rebound.

FT FT 2 FT: Stark Guardian WSJ: Stelzer Times Telegraph: Evans-Pritchard WSJ Irish Times Guardian


Following comments made by the EU's new Ambassador to Washington Joao Vale de Almeida, who said that he would be "leading the show" in Washington, Open Europe's Stephen Booth was quoted in Saturday's Express saying that "The best-case scenario is that these new EU ambassadors simply duplicate the work of the Foreign Office but at an extra expense to the UK taxpayer".

Express Express: Leader Spectator: Coffee House blog


Sarkozy renews French calls for an EU disaster reaction force

It is widely reported that French President Nicolas Sarkozy has called for the EU to establish a joint rapid reaction force against natural disasters in a letter he wrote to the European Commission's President José Manuel Barroso on Sunday. Sarkozy's request follows last week's analogous declarations from French Europe Minister Pierre Lellouche.


The Journal du Dimanche notes that, in the same letter, Sarkozy also asked Barroso to increase EU's direct aid to Pakistan in the aftermath of the recent floods in the country. "It strikes me as essential, for obvious humanitarian and political reasons, that Europe shows it solidarity with the Pakistani population in a visible manner", he wrote.

EUobserver European Voice Zeit Welt JDD DW ABC


The Sunday Express noted that Conservative MP John Redwood has called on William Hague "to start talking up for Britain" in the EU, urging him to reduce waste in the EU budget.

Sunday Express John Redwood MP blog


"A supervisory body for EU's competition policy is needed", experts say

Competition law professors Jürgen Kühling and Justus Haucap critised the EU's competition policy in last Friday's FAZ arguing that "the European Commission disposes of a problematic double mandate". They note that the Commission has an almost absolute monopoly of initiative on the one hand, and important executive competences in competition policy on the other hand. Hence, they warn, "the danger exists of mixing up different tasks".

No link


The Mail reports that Yorkshire Forward, a regional development agency, has produced a pamphlet advising organisations how to avoid punitive EU penalties. This comes in the wake of news that British businesses were fined £150million for failing to display EU flags after receiving European funds.



Nobel Prize winner demands end of EU's ITER project

Libération reports that Georges Chapak, Nobel Prize winner in physics, and other French scientists are calling for the dismissal of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project, which aims to produce electric energy through an experimental fusion reactor. The article notes that, although the cost of the project has tripled, the researchers still doubt the plan's feasibility. The EU has given €6.5 billion to the project.

Libération Euractiv Deutschland


EUobserver notes that UK's Cambridge and Oxford are the only EU universities included in the top 10 in the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) - at the 5th and the 10th spot respectively. The first non-British top-ranked EU institution is the Pierre and Marie Curie University (based in Paris and ranked 39). Meanwhile, Les Echos reports that the EU will give €1 million to finance a new ranking of world universities in 2011.

EUobserver Les Echos Nouvel Observateur


Writing in Saturday's Telegraph, Vicki Woods looked at the controversial European Arrest Warrant and the case of Andrew Symeou who has been detained without trial in Greece as a result.

Telegraph: Woods


The Sunday Express reported that annual MOT tests for cars could be scrapped, in favour of two-year safety tests, under EU proposals to harmonise safety checks across Europe.

Sunday Express


Les Echos reports on Spanish banks' difficulties to finance their activities and notes that their debt vis-à-vis the ECB reached a record €130 billion in July.

Les Echos


An article in Sueddeutsche Zeitung under the headline 'Iban the terrible' reports that Germany wants to prevent the sole use of very long Iban bank account numbers, contrary to European Commission's proposals.

Sueddeutsche Zeitung


A report published by the European Commission on Friday has shown that the EU will miss its targets on the safeguarding of biodiversity for 2010, an article in Le Monde notes.

Le Monde


The FT notes that opinion polls in Sweden have shown the centre-right government edging in front of the opposition Red-Green alliance ahead of the September 19 election.




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