More tweeting Eurocrats…

Jerzy Buzek is on Twitter: Welcome, Mr (European Parliament) President!

by Julien Frisch

Since today, Jerzy Buzek, European Parliament President, is on Twitter.

At this moment, he has 50 followers, the number is quickly growing. He himself (probably the press team) isn’t following anyone by now – waiting to see how this develops.

The EU Is Reportedly Exploring Making a Loan To Greece

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

Pressure on Greek finances continues unabated. According to European Voice this morning the EU Commission and Finance Ministers remain most reluctant to call in the IMF (which I think would be the best solution) but they are themselves actively comtemplating providing some kind of IMF-type ?straightjacket loan?. My only big fear here is that they take too long to put the necessary mechanisms in place while the situation in Spain continues to deteriorate, leaving wide open a serious contagion risk.

Does Anyone Really Know The Size Of The Greek 2009 Deficit?

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

Bosnia’s error of othering,

by openDemocracy
Heather McRobie
Bosnia is saddled with a peace settlement for a constitution, and that is getting in the way of building a functioning state

At the end of 2009, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Bosnia?s bar on minorities standing for parliament and the Presidency infringed the human rights of Bosnian Jews, Roma and other minorities who do not identify as one of the three constituent ?national groups? protected by the constitution?Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims), Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Croats. But even if Bosnia amends its constitution in accordance with the ruling, the broader problem of compulsory religious identification still remains to be addressed.

Spain Gets Frobbed-Off By The EU Commission

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

FROB, for those of you who are wondering, stands for ?Fund for Orderly Bank Restructuring? and is an entitly created by the Spanish government in June last year, in order to facilitate (in particular) the restructuring of Spain?s hard hit Savings Banks (Cajas). There is just one problem: as of the present time – and over seven months later – the FROB still is waiting to receive approval from the European Commission.

The Jeleva story & Bulgarian bloggers in focus

by Julien Frisch

With the Jeleva story dominating the EU news these days, it is definitely worth taking a look at Bulgarian eurobloggers.

I’d like to mention Vihar Georgiev writing at the EU Law Blog who has participated in yesterday’s recording of the 11th episode of the Chasing Brussels Podcast that should appear soon. He published a long article on the motivations behind Jeleva’s nomination as well as two follow-up posts (here and here).

European Parliament to vote on EU-USA TFTP (SWIFT) interim Agreement (Updated)

by Grahnlaw

After yesterday?s debate in the European Parliament it looks like the EP and the Council have found a way forward, at least with regard to the procedure to follow. See the EP?s press release: SWIFT: European Parliament to vote soon on the interim agreement (20 January 2010).

Hungary Isn?t Another Greece??..Now Is It?

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

I couldn?t help being struck earlier this week by the following statement in an interview the Financial Times had with Hungarian Finance Minister, Peter Oszkó:

?Structural reforms of the pension and social welfare systems, plus a rebalancing of the tax system, should allow the government to report a 3.9 per cent budget deficit in 2009, on a par with the preceding year and in line with IMF requirements?.

?Structural reforms?, I asked myself, ?exactly which structural reforms are we talking about here?? Certainly the EU Commission and the OECD have been pounding away at the Hungarian authorities on the pressing need for major changes in the health and pension systems (these areas – and the way they are rising as the population ages – are, after all, the underlying cause of the structural deficit in the Hungarian budget). In fact it seems to me that the FT is merely re-iterating here Peter Oszko?s own claim that the government?s austerity measures are working (and no matter how many times you repeat something, it doesn?t make it true).

Discrimination frustrates free movement in the EU

by Grahnlaw

The free movement of people has been an aim since the 1957 EEC Treaty. Discrimination on grounds of nationality has been prohibited for as long. Directive 2004/38 on the right of the citizens of the (European) Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States is supposed to enhance and protect these rights.

Industry views on European Digital Agenda 2010-2015

from Grahnlaw by Grahnlaw

The EU?s current information society strategy i2010 is near the end of its shelf-life. The European Commission has held an online public consultation on the post-i2010 European information society strategy and the Swedish presidency of the Council of the European Union contributed with the Visby agenda, a declaration based on a conference and a report on A Green Knowledge Society (66 pages).

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