Portugal?s prime minister has resigned on the eve of an EU summit that is supposed to move towards a ?grand bargain? to bolster the eurozone and strengthen its crisis prevention ability. The currency bloc is in a bind. Lex?s Edward Hadas and Vincent Boland discuss just how bad it is and what might come next.
Day one of the European Union summit finally broke up after midnight Friday, with leaders finalising the structure of a new eurozone bail-out system that will go into place in 2013 and some tough language on Libya, including the promise to push for more sanctions against Libyan oil and gas companies.
The EU heads of state and government adopted a permanent rescue fund on Thursday in Brussels. 700 billion euros are to be made accessible to euro countries struggling with debts. The press sees the reform package as yet another structure balanced on the lop-sided foundations of the Monetary Union, now saddled with the additional burden of Portugal’s debt crisis.
from EUobserver.com – Headline News
As we?ve been reporting for the last couple of days, many of the fiscal measures that we once thought had been agreed for the two-day summit are unravelling, thanks in part to Finland?s objections to finalising an increase in the eurozone?s ?440bn bail-out fund and Germany?s sudden objection to the structure of the ?500bn fund that will replace it in 2013.
Every year, the British public service broadcaster asks a representative sample of citizens from all corners of the globe which of the 16 largest nations has a positive influence on the world. 2011’s answer was the same as the previous few years: of 29, 000 people from 27 different countries, 62% voted for Germany followed by Britain and Australia, and Iran, North Korea and Pakistan lagging behind
In the French cantonal elections on Sunday President Nicolas Sarkozy’s conservative party was beaten by the Socialists and almost overtaken by the extreme right Front National. A disastrous result for Sarkozy with presidential elections looming in 2012, the press writes, speculating that his party may not even choose him as its candidate.
Who is having a good crisis over at the European commission?s Belaymont headquarters?
Probably not Gunther ?Apocalypse? Oettinger, the energy commissioner, whose dire remarks about the Japanese nuclear situation were an embarrassing example of publicly pouring fuel on an unstable reactor. Not Catherine Ashton, the EU?s foreign policy chief, whose aide told reporters that a no-fly zone over Libya was both impractical and unwise ? only to be overruled a short time later by Britain and France.
We recently published our 2nd survey on the online habits of Members of the European Parliament, looking at how MEPs use the Internet to communicate with constituents and other interested parties, and to inform themselves on policy matters. A few weeks back we analysed reasons for and consequences of MEPs? use of social networks and blogging. This time, we?ll look at what the figures mean for the Public Affairs professional operating in Brussels.
The Liberal Democrats chose the elegant Palais D?Egmont for their pre-summit gathering. While the leafy grounds are gorgeous, particularly on a very un-Belgian sunny day, the mood was anxious.
Until Portugal imploded, most of the focus of the two-day summit was expected to be on the new Irish prime minister Enda Kenny, who failed to secure a cut in Dublin?s bail-out loans during an emergency gathering two weeks ago.
The pre-summit caucuses of leaders in their party groupings have begun, and one of the surprise guests at the centre-right European Peoples? Party meeting is Pedro Passos Coelho, the head of Portugal?s opposition Social Democrats and the man likely to be the country?s next prime minister.
Author: David Grodzki (Blogger European Student Think Tank)
After a few rounds of policy proposals to bolster EU competitiveness, eurozone-leaders have adopted the van-Rompuy/Barroso paper entitled ?Pact for the Euro?. Though it does little to boost competitiveness, it might be a useful addition to the European Semester which aims at creating a more coherent fiscal policy in the Union.
Left Foot Forward?s devolution correspondent Ed Jacobs assesses reaction to Britain’s 2011 budget in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Ireland may ?engage? with European Commission plans for a harmonized corporate tax system, the Irish Times reported today. Might this be the gesture that wins the country a cut to the interest rate it pays on its EU/IMF bailout loan when EU leaders meet later this week?
The European Parliament seems to stumble from one scandal to another. Be it the misuse of allowances, for example by claiming for daily subsistence to work in Brussels only to jet off for the weekend, their second pension schemes, or their junkets to island paradises, MEPs too often make the headlines for the wrong reasons.
Have you ever followed the hectic life of small birds, unwittingly having become foster parents for a gluttonous young cuckoo?
Hectic and unrewarding, the life of these unsung heroes.
Portugal’s Prime Minister José Sócrates handed in his resignation on Wednesday evening after the austerity measures proposed by his minority government were rejected by parliament. The interest rates for Portuguese government bonds then rose to record highs while the euro dropped on currency markets. The Eurozone can only avoid new perils when everyone understands that the times of plenty are over, writes the press.
The US ambassador on the state of Greek mainstream media.
Charles Ries, the then US ambassador in Athens, comments on the ?incestuous? state of Greek media and newspapers. In a cable dated July 13, 2006 he notes that although at a first glance Greek media appear orderly arranged with constitutional guarantees in place, much like ?the media in the U.S?, a closer inspection, ?reveals a Greek media industry controlled by business tycoons whose other successful businesses enable them to subsidize their loss-making media operations?.
Today, just before the European Council, the European social partners are meeting the representatives of the European Union (European Council, Commission, Hungarian presidency of the Council) for the dialogue known as the Tripartite Social Summit.
UPDATE: The demonstrations are already turning nasty. Near the Belgian prime minister?s office, protesters are throwing rocks at riot police, who have opened water cannons on them.
Ahead of the European Council on economic governance, growth and jobs, on 24 and 25 March 2011, I have written a number of posts on my blogs, Grahnlaw (EN), Grahnblawg (SV), Eurooppaoikeus (FI) and Grahnlaw Suomi Finland (EN, FI, SV).