German Finance Minister plays down hopes for comprehensive eurozone rescue plan;
Osborne: UK taxpayers may have to contribute more to resolve the crisis
At Saturday’s G20 summit in Paris finance ministers reiterated their call for a decisive and comprehensive solution to the eurozone crisis, but differences still remain between France and Germany over the level of Greek debt write-downs and a bank recapitalisation. However, speaking in Düsseldorf this morning, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said, “European governments will not present an ultimate solution for the sovereign debt crisis at an upcoming European Union summit”, according to the Telegraph live blog.
Meanwhile, Chancellor George Osborne has raised the possibility of UK taxpayers having to make a bigger contribution to the eurozone’s rescue package through the IMF. He said, “We have indicated our willingness to consider our position on resources for the IMF,” although he added that “additional IMF resources must not be a substitute for the eurozone committing its resources to supporting its own currency.” The UK’s potential liabilities via the IMF are capped at $20bn (£12.6bn), of which around a quarter has been deployed to date.
The WSJ reports that at the summit, the idea of boosting the IMF’s resources with funding from the emerging economies, China and Brazil in particular, was rejected by the finance ministers from established economies, who insisted that the European debt crisis must be resolved by Europeans themselves. Separately, the Sunday Telegraph reported that there were “heated exchanges behind closed doors”, as the UK, US and India rebuked European leaders for acting too slowly and in particular for not mobilising the full lending capacity of the ECB, which is fiercely resisted by Germany.
EUobserver reports that Jean-Claude Trichet, the outgoing head of the ECB, has reiterated his support for a change to the European Union treaty to allow for the outside imposition of economic policy on a member state. “It is necessary to change the treaty to prevent one member state from straying and creating problems for all the others…to do this, one even needs to be able to impose decisions”, he said.
Open Europe’s Pieter Cleppe appeared on Sunday’s De Zevende Dag, Belgium’s morning politics show, discussing the eurozone crisis. He argued, “In order to keep the eurozone up and running until the end of 2014, it requires multiplying the eurozone’s bailout fund, which has just been doubled, by fivefold, giving it an effective firepower of about €2.3tr. This is not democratically feasible, and it will not solve the underlying problem of economic imbalances within the eurozone.”
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MPs to decide whether to back a debate on referendum on leaving the EU;
William Hague: Repatriation of powers from EU is not imminent
The House of Commons’ Backbench Business Committee, meeting tomorrow, is likely to force a House of Commons debate on whether to have a referendum on leaving the EU. When questioned about it on BBC Radio 4‘s The World This Weekend programme, Foreign Secretary William Hague said that people were “very disillusioned” about Europe and that “the eurozone crisis has added to that”, although he insisted that a referendum on leaving the EU was “the wrong question. Hague also told the BBC‘s Andrew Marr Show that there is “no immediate prospect” of repatriating powers from the EU. Hague said that he was in favour of such a move but it was some way off, because no countries were proposing wide scale treaty change.
Telegraph Mail on Sunday BBC The World this Weekend BBC BBC: Andrew Marr BBC Andrew Marr Transcript Sun
Barroso: MiFID review should include harmonisation of financial crime sanctions
The WSJ reports that European Commission President José Manuel Barroso is due to unveil plans to update the EU’s Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) later this week. In an interview with Le Parisien on Sunday, Barroso said that he envisaged proposing that individual criminal responsibility for financial players be recognised by EU law. The proposals will also involve new powers for national regulators to limit investor positions in commodity derivatives and tighter oversight of high-frequency trading, notes the WSJ.
Krone Telegraph Le Parisien WSJ
European Parliament staff increased from 3,946 to 6,245 since 2004
Saturday’s Telegraph reported that a new study by Brussels-based New Direction think-tank has revealed that the number of staff working in the European Parliament increased from 3,946 to 6,245 since 2004, despite the number of MEPs only rising from 732 to 736 over the same period. The study also proposed a number of cuts that would reduce the European Parliament’s budget by £349m per year. Open Europe’s Research Director Stephen Booth was quoted saying, “This is a welcome proposal, which illustrates just how much fat could easily be cut from the [European] Parliament’s budget.”
Writing in the Mail on Sunday, LSE Professor Gwyn Prins explores the costs and benefits of the UK’s EU membership, noting that the proposed EU-wide Financial Transaction Tax could seriously affect the UK, given that “the City accounts for 70% of financial services business in the EU area and about 10% of the UK’s economic output – £124billion compared with £140billion for all manufacturing in 2009, to give a sense of its importance.”
Mail on Sunday: Prins
The leader of The Finns party (previously known as the True Finns), Timo Soini, was unanimously nominated by his party as the candidate for the 2012 Finnish presidential elections.
Dutch Economy Minister Maxime Verhagen has argued in De Volkskrant that the European Commission should be given the power to force all EU member states, not just eurozone countries, to address their economic problems, adding, “National competences should remain national. But the measures shouldn’t be free of consequence. EU countries should be judged on the result.”
Die Welt reports that the announcement of Germany’s Green party and SPD that they would raise taxes should they win the next general elections has been met with anger by the governing coalition. FDP Secretary-General Christian Lindner called the proposal a measure to let German taxpayers “pay for European mutual debts… [by making] top performers in Germany…pay for a European ‘interest socialism’.”
The FT notes that, according to a leaked European Commission report on how the EU can meet its green energy targets, European businesses and consumers face at least 20 years of electricity price rises.
EUobserver reports that Romania’s judge at the ECHR Corneliu Barsan has claimed diplomatic immunity to protect his wife Gabriela, a judge accused of receiving jewellery, holiday tickets and expensive restaurant meals in exchange for favourable verdicts.
New figures for 2000-2006 show that EU regional funding allocated to the UK has resulted in over £38m being misspent, with a further £133m written off. The Sunday Telegraph reported that a rooftop plant nursery and scooters for the unemployed were among recipients of EU funds over the period.
In the Sunday Telegraph, Business Editor Kamal Ahmed argued, “There are at present at least 38 pieces of European regulation that have either been passed or are being formulated in Brussels which will have an impact on the UK’s financial services sector…We are in danger of sleepwalking to a new crisis – a crisis of regulation…It is time this Government put its foot on the regulatory ball and said enough is enough.”
Open Europe research Sunday Telegraph: Ahmed
François Hollande will be the French Socialist Party’s candidate for next year’s presidential elections, after he won the second round of a primary election against Martine Aubry, the daughter of former European Commission President Jacques Delors.
Le Monde Les Echos BBC: Hewitt Repubblica Le Figaro FT WSJ
Ceske Noviny reports that Czech Agriculture Minister, Petr Benld, has rejected European Commission plans to introduce a €300,000 ceiling on direct payments to farmers under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, arguing that it would endanger the competitiveness of Czech farmers.
The Independent on Sunday reported that an international team of scientists will today kick-start an EU-funded study into the impact of global warming on the spread of allergies. The article notes that the study will cost around €3.5m.
Independent on Sunday
Anti-capitalism and anti-austerity protests took place all around the world over the weekend. The demonstrations turned violent in Rome, with groups of armed protesters clashing with the police in several streets and squares. The clashes ended with a total of 135 injured and estimated damages of around €1m, according to the Mayor of Rome Gianni Alemanno.
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