Eurozone: break-up clock is ticking

from FT.com – World, Europe

Policymakers can do nothing about the odds. The danger is that they are running out of time to ensure that a break-up comes in the form of shrinkage rather than collapse

The new fiscal compact

from The European Citizen by Eurocentric
Yesterday’s neotiations have produced an agreement on a new “fiscal compact” (i.e. they hope the ECB will start playing the role of a normal central bank as much as it can now, even though it’s too politically difficult for Germany to agree to it yet). You can find the agreement here (PDF).

The legal scramble for the EU institutions

by Open Europe blog team

So, following the news this morning that the eurozone plus six more countries want to go ahead with their own treaty, where are we? David Cameron vetoed a treaty of 27 because of a refusal to insert a protocol safeguarding the City and other key economic interests (Sarkozy called Cameron’s demands for safeguards on financial services “unacceptable”).

Neo-Nazi terror and Germany?s racism problem, Michael Rothberg

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Michael Rothberg

A failed bank robbery on November 4 this year, exposed a cell in eastern Germany calling itself the ?National Socialist Underground?, apparently responsible for the murder of at least ten people, most of them immigrants, among other acts of violence over the last decade. Together with the murder of dozens last summer by a Norwegian right-wing extremist this case has focused a spotlight on the presence of a new right-wing terrorism. Until the media and the population at large start recognizing immigrants and others marked by ethnic or religious difference as belonging to Germany, a deep-seated, everyday racism will provide fertile soil from which such acts of extremism will continue to grow.

Polarised Poles unite in fear of Franco-German run EU

by Open Europe blog team

Yesterday witnessed a heated and fractious debate (a former Foreign Minister walked out in protest) in the Polish Sejm concerning the conclusion of the Polish Presidency of the EU and last week?s EU summit. Polish PM Donald Tusk kicked off the proceedings by stating that there is still a long way before the future of the euro, and consequently the EU, will be any clearer:

The Troubles of the New Fiscal Compact

from The European Citizen by Eurocentric
Yesterday I wrote about the left and the new fiscal compact, and I’ve noted that the centre-left PES seems to be hoping that the French and German elections will help replace our current Merkozy with a PES version. EUObserver has reported that a majority of the French public (52%) are opposed to the (as yet undrafted) EU deal on fiscal union, largely following left-right lines. The Socialist challenger for the presidency, Francois Hollande:

MAIN FOCUS: Euro pact put to the test | 14/12/2011

from euro|topics
Since the EU summit on Friday Europe’s governments have been discussing whether to agree to the planned euro pact, which stipulates among other things automatic sanctions for deficit sinners. The complex of rules has many advantages, some commentators write, while others say the plan will slow down growth and hinder the rescue of the euro.

The UK-EU split: The impact on Central Europe

from Centre for European Reform by Centre for European Reform
By Tomas Valasek

The UK decision to boycott the new EU treaty removed an important liberal economic voice from the centre of European decision-making. This has left like-minded EU countries, including most of the Central European states, in a far weaker position to resist the etatist tendencies of France and (to a lesser extent) Germany – all the more so because Britain’s actions have also shifted power in the EU from small to big states.

Why the 26 vs 1 narrative is simplistic

by Open Europe blog teamIn our press summary yesterday, weflagged up how Sarkozy’s and Merkel’spact is far from a done deal (if anyone for a second thought so) as Parliaments and governments around Europe continue to struggle to come to terms with its details and content. On their respective front pages today, the FT and the WSJ arepicking up on this theme as well (which goes to show that if you have not yet done so, you may want to sign up to our daily press summary featuring the key stories from all around Europe).

MAIN FOCUS: Lesson for Swiss right-wing populists | 15/12/2011

from euro|topics
In Wednesday’s election of the seven-member Swiss government the strongest party, Christoph Blocher‘s right-wing populist SVP, only managed to attain one seat in the Swiss Federal Council. The other parties elected the representative of a five-percent party to the second seat traditionally reserved for the strongest party. This endangers the country’s consensus democracy, some commentators fear, while others are delighted that the right-wing populists are being taught a lesson.

Silvio Berlusconi’s legacy , Geoff Andrews

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Geoff Andrews
It is a month since Italy’s long-term prime minister resigned. But his pervasive influence on Italy’s public life and the infirmity of the country’s political class mean that it is too early to call this the post-Berlusconi era, says Geoff Andrews.

Nationalism casts a shadow over European democracy, Francesca E.S. Montemaggi

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Francesca E.S. Montemaggi
It is nation states that have emasculated European institutions. What is often branded as the ?national interest? is nothing but a justification for the pursuit of internal politics.

Corporate Europe Create-a-story

from Blogactiv by The Risk Monger
Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) have the ability to take information, skew it with politically-biased invective, and deliver a fiction with such hostility and rudeness that only those with the thickest of skins would dare to stand up to them.  Most in Brussels put their heads down and wait for this pack of wolves to move on and bully some other organisation. But sometimes they stray so far from truth and reality that even the Risk-Monger can?t keep quiet. Such is the case with their fabrication about FP7 funding and industry involvement. I won?t go so far as to say CEO are lying on every line, but their political bias has forced issues very far from what European research is actually doing.

The euro will continue to deteriorate ? The last summit was a failure

from Blogactiv by Protesilaos Stavrou
When Mario Monti, the new Italian Prime Minister, who is not democratically legitimized, was asked if the latest summit was enough to halt the crisis and save the euro, he replied with the phrase ?Well I hope so ? I think so?(see video).
It is this sort

Slovenian, British, Spanish and German media on UK?s EU veto

from cafebabel.com by euro topics
British prime minister David Cameron defended his EU veto in the British house of commons on 12 December, while French president Nicolas Sarkozy lamented that he was ?splitting Europe in two?. Britain is simply more eurosceptic, replies the rest of Europe, who stress the advantages that the British can offer Europe

MAIN FOCUS: Cameron stands by EU veto | 13/12/2011

from euro|topics
British Prime Minister David Cameron defended his EU veto in the British House of Commons on Monday, while French president Nicolas Sarkozy lamented that he was “splitting Europe in two”. Commentators explain the move saying Britain is simply more Eurosceptic and stress the advantages that the British can offer Europe.

The five follies of David Cameron, Kirsty Hughes

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Kirsty Hughes

Perhaps now, as the eurozone and the entire EU struggles to survive, there will have to be a serious debate in the UK about the EU.

As the recriminations continue over David Cameron’s blocking of an EU treaty deal designed to overcome the euro crisis at last week’s EU summit, observers are split over whether Cameron’s move was planned or the result of amateurish incompetence in EU bargaining and diplomacy. Either way it has marginalised the UK in the European Union more than any other single event in Britain’s 38 years of membership and brought the UK as close to the exit door as it has ever been. At the same time, it has ensured that while the UK remains a member of the EU, its influence has never been more limited.

EU gets tough in Western Balkans

by AMANDA PAUL
Last week, after six years of negotiations, Croatia signed an EU Accession Treaty. Croatia should become the EU’s 28th member on July 1, 2013 following the ratification of the treaty by all member state parliaments and a popular vote on accession in Croatia early in 2012.

Off to the next euro crisis summit!

by JOOST LAGENDIJK
Last week European leaders got together in Brussels, once again, to try solve the euro crisis after it became clear that most commentators, citizens and especially investors remained unconvinced that the EU could contain, manage and ultimately overcome the crisis.

The ECB Fear Factor

by Philippe Legrain
BRUSSELS ? Panic is beginning to overwhelm the eurozone. Italy and Spain are caught in the maelstrom. Belgium is slipping into the danger zone. As France is dragged down, the widening gap between its bond yields and Germany’s is severely testing the political partnership that has driven six decades of European integration.

EU vs eurozone: Who has said what ahead of the summit?

by Open Europe blog team
Much has been said about David Cameron?s thinly veiled threat to veto Treaty change at 27 if he is unable to obtain satisfactory safeguards to protect UK financial services from overzealous EU regulation (as we haveargued for), and also his determination to protect the single market from fragmentation. This is clearly a worry if the eurozone proceeds with closer integration and implements its own measures on issues such as financial regulation, labour markets, harmonisation of corporate tax base, and the introduction of a FTT at the eurozone level, as proposed by Merkel and Sarkozy in their recent letter to Council President van Rompuy.

EU Council: The Fifth Last Chance

from Ideas on Europe by Jurnan Goos
Top German and French officials  (the vague term offered to readers by Dutch news station NOS that did not regard mentioning names a must) do not expect EU leaders to agree on substantial measures, substantial being a substitute for action that brings positive consequences lasting longer than a fortnight.Pessimism abound, yet there is some reason for slight optimism. Reason 1: Reflection. When, in October 2010 in Deauville, the European Council agreed to involve private sector involvement as a mean of writing of debt (under immense German pressure), a balance was struck only because France saw one its demands met in weakening (semi)automatic sanctions for budgetary-rule trespassers. Neither made much sense, especially not considering the circumstances. Lenders, wary of Greece going bust, faced increased uncertainty if debt was to be restructured; markets could expect more political games when decisions on budgetary sanctions would end up in the hands of politicians.

Barroso’s failed attempt to single out Cameron

by Open Europe blog team
There seems to be some continuing confusion over David Cameron?s demands at last week?s EU summit, specifically in reference to their impact on the ‘integrity’ of the single market. Unfortunately, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, who should know better, is also doing his bit to propagate these misconceptions in a speech to the European Parliament this morning, in which he said:

The euro will continue to deteriorate ? The last summit was a failure

from Ideas on Europe by Protesilaos Stavrou

When Mario Monti, the new Italian Prime Minister, who is not democratically legitimized, was asked if the latest summit was enough to halt the crisis and save the euro, he replied with the phrase ?Well I hope so ? I think so?(see video).

About the pseudo-Fiscal Union and the actual Fiscal Control

from Blogactiv by Protesilaos Stavrou
German Chancellor Merkel has repeatedly stated her determination to change the EU Treaties, to finally create a ?fiscal union? in the EU. The willingness to amend the Treaties in order to reach that goal was also expressed in the last joint press conference between Ms. Merkel and French President Sarkozy, on December 5. The issue will play a central role in the upcoming Euro summit starting tomorrow Thursday, December 8 which is expected to end on December 9. Given that a political decision among all European leaders will be finalized in the summit, it would not be wise to reject or accept the proposed Treaty changes a priori. Yet it would be worth shedding light on how Ms. Merkel and Mr. Sarkozy conceive this ?fiscal union?.

MAIN FOCUS: Cameron opposes fiscal union | 09/12/2011

from euro|topics
The 17 euro states and six other EU countries have agreed at the EU summit in Brussels to adopt a separate pact on greater fiscal discipline. With its resistance to amending the EU treaties the UK is forcing the Union to split up, commentators write, and call for more political integration in Europe.

European Council: centrifugal Cameron

by Grahnlaw
Hopefully the political leaders, their teams, the EU officials and the journalists on duty during the European Council 8 and 9 December 2011 get some well deserved rest.

Britain on the edge of Europe , Charles Grant

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Charles Grant
“I can never recall Britain being so friendless in the EU”, writes the Director of the Centre for European Reform who thinks it spells disaster for the UK whatever the fate of the Franco-German pact.
The outcome of the Brussels summit on December 8th and 9th is a disaster for the UK and also threatens the integrity of the single market. For more than 50 years, a fundamental principle of Britain?s foreign policy has been to be present when EU bodies take decisions, so that it can influence the outcome. David Cameron, the prime minister, has abandoned that policy. Britain will not take part in a new fiscal compact that most other EU countries will join.

Ten myths about Cameron?s EU veto

by Open Europe blog team

Over on the Spectator’s Coffee House blog, we set out ten myths aboutCameron’s veto. This is the post:

The EU veto that Cameron pulled in the early hours of Thursday morning has been widely misunderstood on all sides. Here are the ten most common myths:

Who Cares About David Cameron ? Remember the Eurozone Debt Crisis?

from Ideas on Europe by euro-thoughts
Much has been made of the so-called failure of David Cameron in Brussels on Thursday. That is, failure to have his demands accepted over special treatment for the City of London in new European financial regulations and failure to stop a new agreement going ahead without Britain, when Cameron declared he could not accept it absent the aforementioned demands. Whether one considers it a failure to try to protect one of the largest sectors of the British economy from stifling taxes, among other things, imposed by Brussels is surely a matter of opinion, but that is neither here nor there when the question is how to prevent the breakup of the Eurozone. Unfortunately, following Thursday?s summit, the answer to that question remains entirely unclear.

A Deep Seated Hostility Towards European Construction?

from A Fistful Of Euros » A Fistful Of Euros by Edward Hugh

The British decision to veto the proposed new EU treaty is not surprisingly provoking an avalanche of commentary this weekend. Among journalists, at least, there seems to be a consensus that David Cameron committed some kind of major diplomatic blunder.

David Cameron and EU Single Market

by Grahnlaw
We know that politics make strange bedfellows, but it becomes worrying when they reside in the same head.

In March 2011, just ahead of the spring summit, nine national political leaders sent a joint letter on European growth to the president of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and the president of the Commission José Manuel Barroso.

Europe?s Other Crisis: Authoritarianism , Jan-Werner Mueller

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Jan-Werner Mueller

Viktor Orbán, Hungarian Prime Minister, is busy creating a nightmarish “managed democracy” while Europe has its gaze turned to its other crisis. The political conditions of EU membership are more fundamental than the economic ones, and Hungary should not be allowed to stay in the club while flouting basic democratic principles

Euroscepticism: A very English disease?, Gareth Young

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Gareth Young
With the Eurozone crises threatening to blow the Coalition Government out of the water, Gareth Young examines the implications for English nationalism and the Union dynamic between England and Scotland.
Writing in Nations and Nationalism, Ben Wellings outlined the various academic theories as to why the lion of English nationalism has not yet roared:

Little choice for Cameron in Europe à la carte

from Public Affairs 2.0 by fhbrussels
This week?s summit in Brussels has certainly been a defining moment in the history of the European Union. The UK?s decision to block any revision to the existing EU treaties as part of the package to save the euro is confirmation that we live in a Europe à la carte. Whether it proves to be a ?two-speed Europe? only time will tell. That depends on how the eurozone evolves.

Britain on the edge of Europe

by Centre for European Reform

By Charles Grant

The outcome of the Brussels summit on December 8th and 9th is a disaster for the UK and also threatens the integrity of the single market. For more than 50 years, a fundamental principle of Britain?s foreign policy has been to be present when EU bodies take decisions, so that it can influence the outcome. David Cameron, the prime minister, has abandoned that policy. Britain will not take part in a new fiscal compact that most other EU countries will join.

EU summit: Enough to save the euro?

by Centre for European Reform
by Simon Tilford

The UK?s decision to marginalise itself by vetoing a new EU-27 treaty has dominated the post-summit media coverage. And for good reason ? it could prove a big step towards UK withdrawal from the EU. However, the bigger question is whether the agreement reached at the summit will do anything to address the fundamentals of the euro crisis.

Britain?s World of Bluff; Merkel & co. Call

from Ideas on Europe by Jurnan Goos

Yesterday the Council faced the choice of a two-tier structure within Europe or a two-speed Europe, today we have a bit of both thanks to the uncompromising stance of British prime minster David Cameron. With ?key national interests? threatened, Cameron saw no other option than to opt-out from signing a new Treaty, which was agreed to by all 17 Eurozone member states, plus another 5 EU member states, and the others are expected to join after counselling with their national parliaments (which might, of course, fail).

Fiscal Union? No thanks! Open Letter to Van Rompuy & Buzek

from Blogactiv by David
Some government leaders and commentators are advocating what they call a FEDERAL fiscal authority to tax everyone and spread this money to governments. Some call this a supranational authority. It is not. It involves reinforcing secretive, cartel-style politics.

MAIN FOCUS: Europe disunited ahead of EU summit | 08/12/2011

from euro|topics
At the EU summit that kicks off today in Brussels a number of countries are unwilling to go along with proposalsby Germany and France to amend the EU treaties as a means of controlling the debt crisis. The German government, meanwhile, refuses to make concessions. This time Europe must succeed even though it seems doomed to run aground owing to its disunity, the press writes.

Britain’s Bad Negotiating Position

from The European Citizen by Eurocentric
Eurosceptic Conservative backbenchers in the UK want to use the summit tomorrow to negotiate the return of powers from the EU to the UK. It’s not clear what powers they want to return to Westminster, but it’s likely that the area they’re interested in is social policy. This area covers things like the 35 hour week, maternity leave, and holidays. The problem is that Britain isn’t in a good negotiating position.

What could Cameron hope for?

by Open Europe blog team
As has been repeated, and repeated again, in the UK media over the last few days, David Cameron isn’t in the easiest spot as he attempts to square off a number of circles with EU leaders today and tomorrow. Thereferendum debate has taken on a life of its own (not so much driven by backbenchers as by media and high-profile interventions by two ministers and a mayor).

Draghi’s Den

by Open Europe blog team
It?s been a whirlwind entrance for Mario Draghi as ECB President and today?s meeting of the Governing Council was seemingly no exception. The key decisions which came out of the meeting were much what we expected, although with a few twists, while more importantly Draghi tackled some of the interesting problems facing Europe fairly bluntly (for a central banker anyway).

Accessing EU Council negotiation documents on environmental agreements ? a confirmatory application

from Ideas on Europe by Ronny Patz
Accessing EU documents for your research projects can be work-intensive and time-consuming as I have experienced with the EU Commission as well as with the EU Council in the course of this year. One recentconfirmatory application made by an (undisclosed yet apparently) Belgium-based researcher to the Council for a large number of documents is an interesting case to notice in this regard.

Poland’s politics of abortion, Agnieszka Mrozik

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Agnieszka Mrozik
A citiziens’ initiative seeking a reform of Poland’s abortion law is facing a crucial test in parliament. This is the latest phase of a long struggle over women’s reproductive rights. It is also part of a changing Poland’s wider debate about what kind of country it should be, says Agnieszka Mrozik.

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