by Stan Schroeder
The European Central Bank (ECB) has become the first major central bank in the West to reverse the trend in interest rates. For the first time since the outbreak of the financial crisis it decided on Thursday to raise its benchmark interest rate from 1.0 to 1.25 percent. While some commentators see the move as supporting recovery among the EU’s strong economic states, others complain it will put ailing euro countries at a grave disadvantage.
by Hugo Brady
In June, EU leaders arrive in Brussels for a meeting of the European Council, the quarterly summits presided over by former Belgian prime minister, Herman Van Rompuy. Some ? Britain’s David Cameron and France’s Nicolas Sarkozy ? are fighting a war in Libya. Others, like Angela Merkel and Silvio Berlusconi, are fighting political upheaval at home. Northern and Southern European leaders alike are watching anxiously as the markets continue to pound the euro. But everyone ? apart perhaps from the newer members to the east ? is worried about immigration. Hence, if events allow, Van Rompuy wants to leave the troubled currency aside to focus on border control, immigration and refugee policy.
Maria Martin-Prat, who took a leave from her job at the European Commission to work as Deputy General Counsel and Director of Legal Policy and Regulatory Affairs for the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI — thee international version of the RIAA, CRIA and BPI, though they’re all basically the same companies), has returned to the EC to run its copyright unit. While Martin-Prat was enjoying her holiday as a lobbyist for the industry she now regulates, she took a number of extremist copyright positions, including lobbying against the private copying exemption (part of European Fair Dealing), and arguing that it should be illegal to break the DRM on the media you buy, even if you don’t violate copyright in doing so.
Having looked at the Annual Growth Survey (AGS) from the Commission in Part One and EU 2020 macroeconomic and fiscal guidance offered by the Ecofin Council in Part Two, we turn to another submerged part of the iceberg, awkwardly acknowledged by the Europan Council, in footnote 1 to paragraph 2:
Spain’s Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the leader of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, announced on Saturday that he will not run for re-election next year. Zapatero leaves with dignity, but his policies were dashed on the rocks of the economic crisis, the press writes.
We continue looking at the governance and practices of the most important official institution of the EU, the European Council, with regard to fiscal consolidation and structural reform.
Its common knowledge that the ECB has been providing massive amounts of liquidity to eurozone governments both directly (through the purchase of government bonds) and indirectly (by taking on large amount of government debt as collateral for lending to banks). The extent of this ? and therefore also the implications ? are less clear, mostly thanks to the ECB?s reluctance to publish any data on its holdings of collateral or government debt.
from EUobserver.com – Headline News
Portugal asked the EU for financial assistance on Wednesday. The highly indebted country needs an estimated 80 billion euros from the bailout fund. The press expects the Portuguese lifestyle to change drastically and calls for a stable government that is capable of pushing through economic reforms.
by Vassilios Damiras
The national security history of twentieth-century Greece can be divided into the pre-1974 epoch and post-1974 period, when full civilian control of the military emerged, too late to forestall a disastrous military misadventure in Cyprus, but in time to end the continual internal political conflict that had made Greece vulnerable to military seizures of power. The post-1974 period brought a new era to the Greek military and the Hellenic defense doctrine in order to face the new military threats mainly from Turkey.
from Open Europe blog
My latest collection of blog posts was presented on Grahnlaw (in English) a little more than two weeks ago: European Council blogging (24032011).
It is easier to find the relevant subject, if I offer myself and others an overview of the later blog entries on the economic policy theme at the spring European Council.
from Jon Worth by Jon
Previous round-up of my blog entries was published in Part One, with articles posted 25 and 26 March 2011.
It looks very much as if Iceland?s obligation to recompense the UK and the Netherlands for reimbursing depositors following the collapse of Landsbanki in 2008 is headed for years of litigation in the EFTA Court ? not good news for those hoping for Iceland?s early EU membership. The question is whether the two creditors will allow the issue to be parked while membership negotiations proceed to a happy ending.
A dispute over refugee policy has broken out among the major EU states. The EU interior ministers will meet today to discuss plans for joint action. Rather than seal itself off, Europe must allocate the refugees equitably to several different countries, writes the press.