A Eurosphere roundup. More eurozone distress… Schengen wars…

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Schengen Wars 2

from The European Citizen by Eurocentric

Romania and Bulgaria’s Schengen aspirations are being put on hold again, with the Netherlands and Finland opposing the phased introduction of the two countries into the border-free zone due to concerns over their levels of corruption. Before the vote, Romania blocked tulips from being imported across its border. Their accession was blocked earlier this year in January, which also saw inept diplomacy by Romania.

No help from the BRICS in eurozone debt crisis (Analysis)

By stating their willingness to help the crisis-hit eurozone, emerging powers ? Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa ? stressed once more their key role in world geo-economics and politics. However, the BRICS remain too different to define common interests and should not have a centre-stage role in Europe’s crisis, writes Susanne Gratius from the Madrid-based think-tank FRIDE.

Ethnic tensions mar Bulgaria’s presidential elections (News)

Denmark readies for low-profile EU Presidency (News)

Four Myths about Ukraine (Analysis)

MAIN FOCUS: Germany approves increased bailout fund | 30/09/2011

The German Bundestag on Thursday voted with a resounding majority in favour of increasing the euro bailout facility, the EFSF. With this decision Germany guarantees a participation of 211 billion euros in the bailout mechanism. While some commentators praise Europe’s successful crisis management, others find the decision nothing short of irresponsible.

MAIN FOCUS: Barroso wants stock exchange tax | 29/09/2011

EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso on Wednesday called for a financial transaction tax in his speech on the state of the Union. The EU is to tax trading on shares and derivatives as of 2014, securing revenues of up to 57 billion euros. Some commentators say the tax makes sense, while for others it contradicts the logic of the capital markets.

MAIN FOCUS: Papandreou reaffirms austerity goals in Berlin | 28/09/2011

Greek Prime Minister Giorgos Papandreou affirmed on Tuesday in Berlin that the requirements for Greece receiving the international bailout package will be fulfilled. While some commentators say his mission has secured Germany’s confidence, others have strong doubts about his credibility.

MAIN FOCUS: Criticism of euro crisis management grows | 27/09/2011

US President Barack Obama on Monday accused the euro countries of not having done enough to fight the debt crisis. IMF head Christine Lagarde had already demanded at the annual meeting in Washington that the EFSF bailout fund be boosted. Commentators write that trust in the banking system must be restored, but without firing up the money press.

Europe thinks the unthinkable to solve crisis

Eurozone governments, many facing growing public disquiet, must now address three overlapping policy discussions for stepping up their response to the crisis

Financial Transaction Tax and Multispeed Europe

by Eurocentric
The UK government’s stated opposition to the FTT was hardly unexpected. With the City of London acting as the financial heart of the EU, and a sacred (cash) cow for the UK government in terms of tax receipts, the UK was always going to be resistant to the idea. Barroso, in his State of the Union speech, seemed to recognise this and generally supported a two-speed (or multi-speed) EU.

The Commissarial Speech 2011

by Eurocentric
Barroso has just delivered his State of the (European) Union speech. Last year I pointed out that it was a work programme speech setting out the legislative programme for the year ahead – a bit like the speech from the throne in European constitutional monarchies. This year the speech actually reflected the State of the Union title a bit more, though it was still a Commissarial Speech.

When Europe sneezes, will the world catch pneumonia?

by fhbrussels
Since the eurozone crisis first erupted three years ago it has largely been seen as Europe?s problem. It has now become a global emergency.
This crisis is ?scaring the world? says President Obama, whose Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner visited Europe twice in a week to meet European finance ministers and who has demanded speedy action in the strongest language, warning of ?cascading default, bank runs and catastrophic risk?. Such US criticism looks a bit rich in the wake of the great American budget row, but it seems that when Europe sneezes, the whole world may catch pneumonia.

Europe’s eastern question, Krzysztof Bobinski

by Krzysztof Bobinski
Poland is hosting a summit on 29-30 September 2011 that seeks to strengthen the European Union’s relationship with its eastern neighbours. The great events in the Arab world reinforce the timeliness of the effort. But the larger uncertainties over the union’s future may delay real progress, says Krzysztof Bobinski.

The road to Europe: the need for trans-European politics, Niccoló Milanese

by Niccoló Milanese
The EU’s crisis has been framed as an economic one, with the self-interest of individuals in nation states pitted one against the other: if the Greeks do well, the Germans do badly. But Europe needs a plural political existence – European political parties expressing this – in order to function

EP wants new trade strategy for Europe under EU2020

by Grahnlaw
The press service of the European Parliament tells us the Result of votes Tuesday 27 September 2011.

We see that the INTA report, prepared by Daniel Caspary (EPP, DE), on a New trade policy for Europe under the Europe 2020 strategy (A7-0255/2011; procedure INI/2010/2152) was adopted by 526 votes in favour to 108 against with 9 abstentions.

Beware your public square: Britain is under attack from ?talking? CCTV cameras, Sarah Boyes

by Sarah Boyes
With the advent of ?talking? CCTV cameras, our surveillance society has reached new levels: we are no longer simply watched, but also ‘told off’ for ‘bad behaviour’. Whatever happened to the civic spirit!

How to lose support for EU free movement and alienate people

by Open Europe blog team
The European Commission just made it a lot more difficult to defend free movement in Europe. Free movement and open borders (two separate but related EU issues) are very difficult things to sell to the public, witness theBombardier row (which had complicated causes, but partly flowed from competition rules designed to uphold free movement/the EU single market), the Danish restrictions on the Schengen agreement or the Lincolnshire strikesback in 2009.

The ECB’s Italian Wishlist

by Open Europe blog teamIt was Italy’s worst kept secret. Everybody knew that the second austerity package hastily put together by the Italian government in August had been – let’s say – ‘inspired’ by the ECB, despite several clumsy attempts to deny the existence of a letter containing a fully-fledged wish list set out in Frankfurt as a precondition to the ECB starting to buy Italian bonds.

Revisiting the Eurodebate

from A Fistful Of Euros » A Fistful Of Euros by Alex Harrowell
This post of P O?Neill?s made me think of something. That is, the British debate on joining the Euro, and on Europe more generally. I was strongly pro-Euro, something which now looks as bad a decision as joining the Liberal Democrats was. It?s hard to avoid the conclusion that had the UK had Eurozone interest rates in the 2000s, we would have had an even huger housing bubble and even more gigantic bank balance sheets, and we would have had to resolve them without being able to use the central bank as lender of last resort, and we would have been unable to devalue the currency as a stimulus mechanism.

Bulgaria and Romania excluded from Schengen

from FT.com – World, Europe
Countries’ hopes of joining passport-free area dashed after northern European nations veto their entry

EU asks Greece to cut 200,000 public jobs

from Hurriyet Dailynews by HDN
The European Union has asked Greece to cut 200,000 public jobs in the next four years ? not the figure of 70,000 that has been leaked to the media by official sources ? European trade and industry sources told the Hürriyet Daily News on Monday.

Greece’s debt crisis odyssey

from BBC News | Europe | World Edition
Make your way through the maze of debt decisions

EU border police ‘turning blind eye’ to abuse of migrants in Greece

Human Rights Watch report says Frontex ignores abuse of illegal migrants caught crossing Turkish border
Europe’s fledgling border police force has been knowingly aiding and abetting the serial abuse of migrants during its first major deployment on EU frontiers, Human Rights Watch said.

Greek default: Optimal and suboptimal choices ? Full analysis

from Ideas on Europe by Protesilaos Stavrou
A full analysis of the choices European leaders are facing, regarding the prospect of a Greek default and their overall approach to the crisis of the euro.

Sweden in Europe: Carl Bildt and Anders Borg stress EU unity

by Grahnlaw
The blog post Sweden promotes EU enlargement no end continued the discussion about Swedish EU politics as described in the Statement of Government Policy. There are also links to the earlier blog entries in the post.

Money, public debt and the Euro: defences against fragmentation, Sergio Bruno

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Sergio Bruno
Roger Scruton (Unreal Estates) argues for a remoralised economy in response to Europe’s debt crisis. But this is fully consistent with a strong defence of the Euro, of strong central action against speculators and of political reform and rejuvenation of Europe’s institutions

Deal on the European Protection Order Directive

from The European Citizen by Eurocentric
The Council and Parliament have reached a deal on the European Protection Order Directive, originally proposed by Member States, ensuring that it will sail through the first and second legislative readings. The EPOD is aimed at protecting people subject to protection orders under their national criminal law, while allowing them to exercise their free movement rights (draft legislation PDF here). The Directive would apply to protection orders made by national authorities under criminal law (there’s a separate measure dealing with civil law), which impose restrictions on persons that pose a risk to another such as:

Sweden in European integration (recap)

by Grahnlaw
Sweden is fairly British in its EU politics and policies, although more pragmatic and much less abrasive. Here is a recap of some aspects of Sweden in European integration.

Sweden has a long tradition of intergovernmental thinking in international relations. Sweden is one of the top countries in almost all important global rankings, so Swedes do not always see EU standards as an improvement.

Sweden in Europe: EU defence cooperation?

by Grahnlaw
The Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt read the Statement of Government Policy at the opening of the parliament (Riksdag) 15 September 2011.

It left me wondering if the government’s short descriptions of its EU policies were accurate, or if consumers of public information should be offered some additional facts and viewpoints.

Sweden proactively at the heart of the European Union?

by Grahnlaw
The blog post Sweden in Europe: EU defence cooperation? started the comparison in English between theStatement of Government Policy, read by the Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt at the opening of the parliament (Riksdag) 15 September 2011, and reality as seen from the outside.

Money, public debt and the Euro: defences against fragmentation, Sergio Bruno

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Sergio Bruno
Roger Scruton (Unreal Estates) argues for a remoralised economy in response to Europe’s debt crisis. But this is fully consistent with a strong defence of the Euro, of strong central action against speculators and of political reform and rejuvenation of Europe’s institutions

Angry Germans

from Behind the Scenes by Honor Mahony
This eurozone crisis is exposing some difficult truths. The limits of solidarity. The ephemerality of ?Europeanness?. And the fact that it is much easier to get into  monetary union than get out of it.

MAIN FOCUS: Pope Benedict in Germany | 23/09/2011

from euro|topics
Pope Benedict XVI started his four-day state visit to Germany on Thursday amidst a wave of protests. Although he has candidly sought to address the concerns of those who have left the Church, his views divide the Germans for historic reasons, commentators write.

The Swiss example ? not what it seems

from Blogactiv by euromove
At a debate on EU membership organised by the Spectator on 20 September (read a report here), leading eurosceptic Daniel Hannan MEP compared the UK unfavourably with Switzerland.  The Swiss experience of non-membership of the EU, he said, has been more beneficial than the UK experience of membership.  We are poorer, both in economic terms and in the health of our democratic life.

Barroso Bullshit Bingo for the 2011 State of the European Union address

from Ideas on Europe by Ronny Patz
Next Wednesday, 28 September at 9 am, EU Commission President Barroso will speak in front of the European Parliament, a speech that he and his communication advisors call ?State of the Union? to make it look like Barroso was anything near the US president.

Exploring the strength of the Brazil-EU Relationship

from Blogactiv by Ioana Zifciak
Being one of the major emerging economies of the world within the BRICS Group, Brazil is an up-and-coming super power. The Brazilian economy is forecasted to expand by another 4.5% in 2011, following on from last year?s 8% growth in GDP. The government is heavily investing especially in infrastructure and industry to sustain this trend, which makes Brazil an attractive market and investment destination for European companies. A well-established Brazilian industry provides further opportunities for companies which want to excel in strategic alliances, joint investments and technology transfer. With the 5th Brazil-EU Summit that takes place in Brussels on the 4th of October, Brazilian and European leaders will be well positioned to renew a traditional and mature relationship that grows stronger every day. From education to energy, or from science and technology to industrial issues, cooperation between Brazil and the EU spans a wide and diversified range of topics. The multiplication of missions, meetings and contacts between Brazil and EU representatives, in different configurations and settings, has injected additional impetus into the Brazil-EU Relationship.

Greek geoeconomic agenda in shambles

from Blogactiv by Florian Pantazi
As a general rule, with the exception of Russia and China, few developed countries have a geo-economic agenda of their own. This, after all, is the task of multinational or global corporations. The latter can benefit from logistical state support, but to a much more limited extent than in the past.

Eurozone: new rules for new members

from Blogactiv by garyfinnegan
When the EU expanded from 15 to 27 countries between 2004 and 2007, it was presumed that the newest members would go the whole hog and join the euro in due course. In fact, it was written into the terms of the accession Treaty they signed at the door on the way in.

Eurozone crisis: Higher inflation is part of the answer

by Centre for European Reform
by Simon Tilford

The biggest challenge facing the eurozone is how to generate economic growth. Whatever its leaders agree in terms of fiscal targets and surveillance will achieve little in the absence of growth. Excessively restrictive fiscal policy is clearly one obstacle to such growth, but the European Central Bank?s obsession with inflation is another. Of course the central bank must guard against excessive inflation, but it is a big problem when its fear of inflation blinds it to the much more serious threats confronting the eurozone economy. Indeed, somewhat higher inflation may be part of the solution to the crisis facing Europe. If policy continues to be directed at ensuring inflation of “below, but close to 2 per cent”, countries such as Spain and Italy will struggle to regain competitiveness within the eurozone and their debt burdens will be unsustainable.

Eastern Partnership Summit = a Human Rights Summit?

from Blogactiv by Europe of Human Rights

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