If you believe the comments of bloggers from all over Europe, the Kücükdeveci case (C-555/07) in front of the European Court of Justice might have been both, another milestone in the legal primacy of EU law over national law and a precedent for the importance of the Charta of Fundamental Rights after the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty.
I start by mentioning two interesting documents for those who want to see the big picture of European Union activities in the area of taxation.
The commissioner in charge of data protection, Viviane Reding, will announce her “concern” about Facebook’s recent moves in a speech today (9 February), during European Safer Internet Day celebrations in Strasbourg.
The majority of Europe’s youngsters who go online are regular users of social networking sites such as Facebook, according to a recent Eurobarometer poll.
There is a significant amount of hand-wringing going on in the US that the Euro is fraying on the edges. Some pundits have even coined a rather derogatory acronym for Euro-countries in economic distress: the PIGS (Portugal, Italy or Ireland, Greece, Spain). The acronym bunches together four countries with very different backgrounds but one shared fact: they all face serious budget shortfalls.
The European Parliament has said “No!” to the SWIFT agreement between the EU and the USA, with 378 votes in favour and 196 votes against (plus 31 abstentions) the report by rapporteur Hennis which recommended to reject the SWIFT agreement.
Following German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle’s speech at the weekend, announcing that the long term goal of EU security and defence policy under Lisbon should be the creation of a European army, the French Defence Minister Hervé Morin today made a rather different, but nonetheless important announcement.
The work programme of the Spanish presidency of the Council of the European Union has described as unfocused and full of good intentions, but the part concerning taxes, under the ECOFIN Council, is quite concrete: Taxation: The fight against fraud (pages 5 to 7).
Latest word is that the eurozone group is holding an emergency video conference this afternoon to discuss Greece’s economic situation and possible ways to go ahead with a much anticipated (read: much feared) bailout of the country. This morning’s press reports noted that eurozone countries had decided “in principle” to provide financial assistance to Athens, with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble telling officials in Berlin that there ?was no alternative? to a rescue plan.
Here are a chart and a graph showing the PIIGS’ and the United States’ indebtedness — more specifically, their public debt and 2009 deficit relative to GDP.
Ahead of today’s summit meeting on Greece in Brussels several EU members are apparently willing to provide aid to the crisis-riden state. The press fears a devaluation of the euro and says any measures to help the country should be attached to strict requirements.
from FP Passport by Joshua Keating
Accession negotiations with Croatia could be wound up in 2010 and Croatia’s successful accession would give a “positive impetus” to the process of integrating the rest of the Western Balkan region within Europe, say MEPs in a resolution drafted by Austrian MEP Hannes Swoboda (S&D).