German Chancelor Angela Merkel declared on Saturday that the “multiculti” society has failed in Germany. Commentators write that both immigrants and host societies must do more to further integration, otherwise the extreme Right will come out the winner.
As the Comprehensive Spending Review is unveiled in Britain, some of you will recall the recent Compass pamphlet, The £100bn gamble, of which I was a co-author. I?ve just read an exceptionally good short piece by Malcolm Sawyer, Professor of Economics at Leeds, which made me realise that the pamphlet did not pay sufficient attention to Osborne?s highly unrealistic assumptions about just how much the private sector is assumed to expand as the public sector shrinks. As the current plight of Greece and Ireland shows quite clearly, cutting public sector spending in the name of ?sound finance? could make things worse, not better.
Spain?s Tinsa Price Index was out last week, and showed Spanish property prices fell again in September, and at an accelerating rate. As Tinsa point out in their report, both ?Metropolitan Areas and municipalities on the Mediterranean Coast,? whose rates experienced a significant drop from the previous month, have contributed decisively to this steep decline?.
?It?s the immigration, stupid?. That was in few words my response to the analysis ?Why Labour lost the elections?. Last week I was in London at the Policy Network launch of Southern Discomfort Again, a smart pamphlet written by Giles Radice and Patrick Diamond explaining the factors why the British Labour party is so extremely unattractive in and so totally disconnected to the Southern parts of the UK. They wrote an alarming and informative report about the ??squeezed middle classes??, squeezed between (bankers) bonuses and (migrants) benefits.
Here on Grahnlaw we have discussed various aspects of EU legislation, more or less related to the Report from the Commission:
EU citizens largely share the objectives and values of competition policy. From DG Competitions’ present priority sectors, citizen identified energy with 44%, the pharmaceutical products with 25% and telecommunication with 21% as those main sectors where they perceive competition problems. The major indication for the lack of competition was that prices were felt to be too high. The survey revealed interesting differences across the Member States in the level of existing knowledge and general interest towards competition policy. The survey also gives detailed information about the perceptions across socio-economic groups. This information as well as feedback from citizens about what competition policy topics they prefer to be further informed, will allow DG Competition ? together with the EU Member States’ national competition authorities ? a better targeted communication policy.
Qualitative professional stakeholder study
Professional stakeholders acknowledge DG Competition’s integrity and analytical ability. They consider case teams professional, committed and open to discussion. There was a broad consensus about an improvement in analytical capability since the establishment of the Chief Economist Team in 2003. Most respondents considered DG Competitions’ current sectoral priorities as broadly appropriate and its enforcement activities generally beneficial for competitiveness on the markets. Respondents requested more structured and focussed communication with parties during all phases of investigations. In order to improve the economic impact of cases, professional stakeholders called for faster case handling especially for antitrust cases. However stakeholders showed sympathy towards the constraints DG Competition is faced with, for example, the trade-off between time and quality of actions in complex cases and the need for ? sometimes burdening – information requests during investigations; respondents did suggest that DG Competition took steps to ease this burden
Citizens? awareness and perceptions of EU regional policy
Roughly a third of EU citizens said they had heard about EU co-financed projects to improve their local area; of those ?aware? citizens, three-quarters felt that the EU?s support had had a positive impact on development in their city or region. A large majority of EU citizens accepted that the Union?s regional policy served as a tool to reduce the gap between development levels of the various regions in the EU. When asked where EU regional support should be targeted, 75% of respondents said that it should go to regions with high unemployment. Educational, health and social infrastructure, and environmental issues, were regarded as being among the most important policy areas by almost all respondents. After these two policy areas, just over 8 in 10 EU citizens considered support for small businesses and employment training as important policy sectors.