EU plans for maternity pay could cost UK an extra £2.5bn a year
The Telegraph reports that UK taxpayers could be forced to pay an extra £2.5 billion a year under MEPs' plans to extend maternity leave to 20 weeks on full pay. MEPs on the European Parliament's Women's Rights Committee have amended the European Commission's original proposals on the Pregnant Workers Directive to increase the basic requirement for maternity leave across the EU from 14 to 18 weeks, at flexible pay rates. MEPs will vote on these amendments in Strasbourg on 18th October 2010.
If the amendment is passed, the UK will have to find allies among other member states to block the moves in the Council, as the Directive will be decided by qualified majority vote.
Damian Reece: Lord Turner's warning on EU supervisors "too little too late"
Following FSA Chairman Lord Adair Turner's comments that it is "vitally important" that the EU's new financial watchdogs do not intervene directly in day-to-day supervision of individual financial institutions, Telegraph columnist Damian Reece writes: "Regulators, such as Lord Turner, will be able to rail as much as they like against the EU's City rules in future but the UK will have no more power to change them than Latvia or Malta". He adds: "Lord Turner's words of warning are too little too late".
Meanwhile, in the WSJ, Stephen Fidler looks at the Commission's proposals on derivatives and notes that the Commission, following UK pressure, watered down a requirement for clearinghouses to have access to central-bank liquidity.
"Very violent clash" over Roma between Sarkozy and Barroso at the EU summit
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Commission President José Manuel Barroso had a "very violent clash" over the Roma question at yesterday's EU summit, according to Bulgarian Prime Minister Boïko Borissov. Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker also confirmed that a "virile confrontation" had taken place between the two leaders.
Le Monde quotes Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for the German government, disavowing Sarkozy's claims that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was going to follow France's example on the Roma question. "Chancellor Merkel did not speak at the European Council summit or in the sidelines of the summit with French President Sarkozy about Roma camps in Germany, and in no way about their dismantlement", the spokesman said.
Meanwhile, EUobserver also notes that US officials have urged France to halt the expulsions and respect the human rights of Roma people.
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EU leaders remain deadlocked on how to punish states that break fiscal rules
The Irish Independent quotes Irish PM Brian Cowen saying that there was no agreement among EU leaders on how to punish countries that break the bloc's debt and deficit limits at yesterday's summit.
Meanwhile, EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn, who will unveil the Commission's plans on 29 September, told MEPs yesterday that he still favoured "quasi-automatic sanctions". Rehn added that the Commission would also propose "an enforcement mechanism" for eurozone states which do not comply with recommendations on macro-economic "indicators" such as productivity, unit labour costs and employment.
FT Deutschland reports that businesses are concerned about EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding's proposal to introduce gender quotas to boost the percentage of women occupying management positions in European companies.
In the Times, Camilla Cavendish argues that the operation of the EU's Working Time Directive within the NHS "is Stalinist".
EUobserver reports that EU leaders agreed an easing of trade conditions with Pakistan yesterday, overcoming concerns among states such as France and Italy that some options on the table would also have had to be offered to China and India. Meanwhile, the EU yesterday agreed a free-trade deal with South Korea, after Italy lifted its objections.
EurActiv reports that six out of ten websites selling online tickets for concerts and sport events will undergo further inspection by the European Commission after a first round of investigations found out that they were providing "incomplete or misleading information" about the tickets' price.
EUobserver quotes a diplomat saying that the EU's failed attempt to secure extra rights at the United Nations General Assembly was the result of "a ramshackle, pretty disorganised EU strategy".
The Economist's Charlemagne column discusses EU foreign policy after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty and argues: "On a good day, when Mrs. Clinton calls Europe, she will then find [EU Foreign Minister] Lady Ashton at the other end of the line. But the Baroness will still not be able actually to take the real decisions. She will, rather, be the switchboard operator, passing messages on to Paris, London, Berlin, Madrid, Warsaw..."
BBC News reports that EADS Astrium has been awarded a €6.5 million contract by the European Space Agency to carry out further detailed design work on an unmanned spacecraft to be sent to the Moon.
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