EU Justice Commissioner considers taking France to court over illegal Roma deportation
EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding yesterday accused France of duplicity in its dealings with Brussels over the deportation of the Roma people, condemning the policy saying "this is a situation I had thought Europe would not have to witness again after the Second World War". She continued, "I am personally convinced that the Commission will have no choice but to initiate infringement procedures". Reding also reproached French Europe Minister Pierre Lellouche for his comments rejecting the Commission as 'guardian' of the EU treaties. "The European Commission's role as guardian of the Treaty is one of the foundations of the European Union", she said.
Le Figaro quotes French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux saying at a hearing before the French Parliament: "Law is made to be respected. We will dismantle all abusive camps, as they constitute a violation of property rights". French Europe Minister Pierre Lellouche is quoted in EUobserver saying: "This is not how you speak to a major power like France, which is the mother of human rights".
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European Commission unveils proposals for regulation of derivatives and short-selling
EU Commissioner for Internal Market Michel Barnier will today present his proposals for regulation of derivatives and short-selling. EurActiv reports that under the proposed measures, so-called "over-the-counter" (OTC) derivatives would have to be traded via stock exchanges and processed by clearing houses or central counterparties, with a key role in the supervision of contracts for the new European Securities and Markets Authority.
As regards short-selling, the WSJ reports that the new rules would - if adopted - force investors to disclose "short" positions to regulators. Il Sole 24 Ore notes that bans on short-selling imposed by national regulators would be coordinated by the European Securities and Markets Authority, which will also have the power to limit or ban short-selling on its own initiative in "emergency situations".
Barnier's proposals will now have to be endorsed by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament. If the timetable is respected, the new rules on short-selling and Credit Default Swaps (CDS) will enter into force in July 2012, followed by the new rules on derivatives six months later.
German government losing patience with Van Rompuy's lack of progress with economic governance;
Commission to propose fines for member states which fail to boost their competiveness
EUobserver notes that the German government has spoken out at the lack of progress by Council President Herman Van Rompuy's taskforce on economic government. Deputy German Foreign Minister Werner Hoyer is quoted saying, "This dossier is too important to be treated on the basis of nebulous texts." Germany backs the idea of a suspension of voting rights in the Council for states that break budget rules, which is likely to require treaty change.
In an interview with the FT, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde has said that the eurozone's drive for new fiscal rules and sanctions has run into "very difficult" legal obstacles and political objections from non-eurozone members in Eastern Europe. She said that, although there is scope under existing treaty provisions for the 16 eurozone members to draw up their own procedures, "We have the other 10 members saying: 'Why should you exclude me? Why am I not part of the club?'". She added, "The whole question of sanctions, the timing and pattern of sanctions, is at stake here."
Meanwhile, Handelsblatt reports that the European Commission will separately table a proposal on 29 September, which would see fines imposed on member states which fail to pursue reforms to boost their economic competitiveness. Such reforms could include measures to counter balance of payments deficits or excessive wage costs. Italy, France and Poland also have reservations about stronger sanctions.
Tim Montgomerie, Editor of Conservative Home, discusses the UK Government's new proposal of a referendum lock and quotes Open Europe's Mats Persson saying: "New crises, situations and politicians' egos will always drive the need for another treaty and further integration...The threat of the UK's referendum lock could be an important strategic asset to argue that a repatriation of powers is the only way the British electorate would agree to the changes."
Commissioner finds Italian support for direct EU tax
Borsa Italiana reports that EU Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski met with Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini and Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti yesterday to discuss the size and financing of the EU budget. ASCA reports that Frattini confirmed that "Italy supports the view of a larger EU budget with own revenues".
Telegraph: Van Rompuy, Barroso and Ashton in power battle over EU foreign policy
The Telegraph reports that European Council President Herman Van Rompuy has been accused by EU sources of enacting a "power grab" over foreign policy by supporting a French proposal to set up a "special task force" on strategic relations that would rival the Catherine Ashton's new EU foreign office, the European External Action Service (EEAS). Catherine Ashton is due to announce the first 25 top diplomatic appointments and the budget for the EEAS later today.
Meanwhile, the EU suffered an embarrassing defeat at the United Nations yesterday in its attempt to gain rights enjoyed by full UN members. Other regional blocs said it was unfair that Europe would get a boost in its standing at the global body but not them, reports EUobserver.
Rheinische Post: Barroso is the "expenses king" of the European Commission
Rheinische Post describes Commission President José Manuel Barroso as the "expenses king" of the European Commission, noting that he spent more than €730,000 on travelling and representation costs last year. Barroso's new communication strategy will involve a team of photographers and speechwriters accompanying him around the clock. German FDP MEP Silvana Koch-Mehrin is quoted saying: "Photographers and a personal camera team for Barroso? That is for me bordering on megalomania."
The article reports that the new communication strategy was pushed for by Commissioner Viviane Reding, who is responsible for the EU's communication strategy, and that the Commission is refusing to disclose the costs. Reding's spokesperson Matthew Newman instead told the newspaper, "Please look into what national leaders do".
The Alternative Investment Management Association has said it will meet with the UK's Financial Services Authority to suggest ways to water down new EU regulation on pay and bonuses for hedge fund managers - similar to those imposed on banks.
The FT reports that the European Court of Justice has ruled that in-house lawyers do not enjoy the same legal privilege as external lawyers.
Le Figaro interviewed the French Economy Minister, Christine Lagarde, who confirmed that France and Germany strongly want to move towards fiscal convergence. However, she said that "the main difference is that Germany wants only corporate tax convergence, whilst France wishes to harmonize both people and corporate income taxes".
CityAM reports that Greece raised €1.17 billion in a debt auction yesterday boosting confidence in its economy. Greece received the second instalment, worth €6.5 billion, of the EU/IMF bailout fund on Monday.
EUobserver reports that EU Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard has said that achieving an agreement on CO2 emissions reduction at the United Nations' Conference in Cancún later this year is no longer a top priority for the EU, mainly due to the fact that the US failed to pass its environment legislation. EurActiv also notes that Hedegaard is already working on new climate targets for 2030 to be included in a broader 2050 roadmap for a low-carbon economy.
On Conservative Home, former Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Howard Flight argues that the UK should take the lead in abolishing pan-EU International Financial Reporting Standards.
The FT reports that the EU's Late Payment Directive has been updated so that public authorities will now have to pay outstanding bills within 30 days or 60 days in special cases, before facing penalties.
FT Deutschland reports that there could be a compromise between Germany and the EU that will see the EU subsidies for coal run until 2018 instead of 2014 and in return will include the termination of domestic subsidies for coal production in Germany by 2018, which alone will amount to roughly €10bn.
Le Monde reports that yesterday French Agriculture Minister Bruno Le Maire and his German counterpart Ilse Aigner agreed on a common position on the future of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). In the document, the two ministers have insisted on the safeguard of a high level of financial resources for CAP and on the need to keep current regulation of agricultural markets.
Le Monde reports that France and Germany are calling for a common EU asylum policy.
Dutch Press Agency ANP quotes diplomats questioning if it is necessary for all EU leaders to go Brussels on Thursday for "a not very exciting summit". Some Brussels insiders talk of an "inflation of summits" as a possible consequence of EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy's ambition to put himself on the map.
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