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Oud 25 april 2012, 12:40   #1
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Standaard Open Europe : Daily Press Summary

French election results and Dutch political crisis send stock markets tumbling;Ratification of fiscal treaty could be delayedThe FT reports that the German parliament might decide to delay the ratification of the new European ‘fiscal treaty’ on budgetary discipline in light of a possible victory of François Hollande in the French presidential elections. Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten quotes Andreas Schockenhoff, vice chairman of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU party faction in the Bundestag, as saying that if Hollande wins, supplementary negotiations ought to take place quickly.

The ratification of the fiscal treaty is also at risk in the Netherlands, following Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s resignation yesterday. Elections are to take place in September, despite a majority in the Dutch parliament being in favour of the vote taking place on 27 June – before the summer recess. Meanwhile, the European Commission yesterday insisted that the Netherlands is expected to cut its deficit despite the on-going political crisis. Le Figaro notes that the Netherlands could also lose its Triple-A credit rating in the coming months if it fails to deliver on budget cuts.

The frontpage of Handelsblatt runs with the headline, “Will Europe fail?”. The paper notes that euro opponents are on the rise not only in France and the Netherlands, since in Ireland the eurosceptic Sinn Fein party is polling at 23% only one month ahead of the Irish referendum on the fiscal treaty. The Irish Times reports that The Technical Engineering and Electrical Union (TEEU) has become the third union to urge its members to reject the fiscal compact treaty. Meanwhile, FT Deutschland reports that Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny is calling for changes to the treaty establishing the eurozone’s permanent bailout fund, the ESM, in order to allow the fund to provide direct loans to struggling eurozone banks.

On his Telegraph blog, Open Europe’s Director Mats Persson notes that the euro crisis may have claimed yet another victim with the fall of the Dutch government, noting, “The episode adds an additional dose of uncertainty to the eurozone crisis. We knew that there would be significant opposition to EU-imposed austerity measures in Southern Europe – Greece, Portugal, Spain – but the Dutch? Though it’s far too early to draw conclusions, Germany might have just lost a key ally in its efforts to achieve a euro based on sound money and budget discipline.”

In Süddeutsche Zeitung, European correspondent Cerstin Gammelin writes that “the failure of the Dutch government marks a new grade in the continuing crisis…For the German government this is a bitter development. It has lost an important ally in its policy of promoting savings and budgetary discipline.” Meanwhile, Die Welt’s chief editor Michael Stürmer writes that in Europe “Germany is a key power without a key. The one thing however that Germany’s partners in the EU fear more than German leadership is if Germany were to refuse such leadership.”
FT Times Welt Süddeutsche Independent WSJ WSJ 3 City AM Guardian Mail Telegraph Le Figaro FT DWN Le Figaro FT Guardian FT Bild NRC NOS Dutch Parliament Debate live RTL De Morgen FTD EUobserver EUobserver 2 Handelsblatt Irish Times Süddeutsche: Gammelin Welt: Stürmmer Guardian: Leader FT: Rachman FT: Leader FT: Barber FT: Rogoff Times: Leader Times: Bremner Molloy: Irish Independent WSJ: Heard on the Street WSJ: Review & Outlook Independent: Leader Welt: Lehnartz Coulisses de Bruxelles Telegraph blogs: Persson

Bild reports that rumours are circulating in Berlin that German Chancellor Angela Merkel could try to take advantage of the favourable polling figures in order to call early Bundestag elections after the upcoming round of regional elections next month.

Sarkozy: If Europe can’t defend its borders, France will;
Vincenzo Scarpetta: French support for German vision of the eurozone could not be guaranteed after the elections
According to an Ipsos exit poll, 60% of far-right Front National supporters would vote Nicolas Sarkozy in the second round of the French presidential election, and 18% François Hollande. In an interview with French daily Libération, Hollande stressed that “part of the Le Pen electorate is left-wing and ought to side with progress, equality…and against a struggling Europe. I need to convince them that it’s the left that defends their interest”. Yesterday, Sarkozy told FN voters, “I want to tell you: I’ve heard you” reiterating his pledge to crack down on uncontrolled immigration. “The French people do not want a sieve-like Europe, this is the message I have heard…If Europe cannot defend its borders, France will”, he said.

In City AM, Open Europe’s Vincenzo Scarpetta argues, “Irrespective of the outcome of the second round, it’ll be hard for the next President to convince France to follow a German vision of the Eurozone – sound money and strict supranational budget rules. would make it more difficult for Angela Merkel to get political cover for putting German money on the line. Markets may grow more anxious.” Labour’s Shadow Europe Minister Emma Reynolds argues, “A victory by François Hollande would fundamentally change the terms of the debate in Europe…Hollande doesn’t want to rip up the fiscal compact but recalibrate it to include a commitment to jobs and growth.”
Le Monde Les Echos Liberation Les Echos Le Monde Le Monde Le Monde 2 Les Echos La Tribune Irish Independent Irish Independent Le Monde Liberation La Tribune Les Echos Les Echos Le Figaro: Fillon Times Libération FT Times Süddeutsche Welt Independent IHT WSJ Telegraph Telegraph 2 Mail Mail 2 City AM: Scarpetta & Reynolds

European Investment Bank inserts euro exit clause in loans to Greek firms;
Spain enters recession
Greek daily Kathimerini reports that the European Investment Bank (EIB) has recently inserted clauses into the loan deals with Greek companies in order to renegotiate the agreements in case Greece exits the eurozone and returns to the drachma. The EIB has denied the claims.

Separately, new figures from Spain’s central bank have confirmed that the country has entered recession, after the Spanish economy contracted by a further 0.4% in the first quarter of 2012. A Spanish government source quoted by City AM has suggested that Spain is to set up a ‘bad bank’ where Spanish banks will be forced to move all their toxic real estate assets – a move that the Spanish government has so far denied. Open Europe’s Raoul Ruparel is quoted by Spanish business daily Expansión in a round-up of experts’ views on the future of the Spanish economy. He argues, “The key is striking the balance between growth and austerity. The structural reforms are encouraging although more needs to be done to increase labour market flexibility and improve the business climate.”

New figures from the EU’s statistics body Eurostat show that EU member states managed to cut their deficits in 2011, but accumulated more public debt compared to the previous year. FAZ reports that Hans Heinrich Driftmann, President of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), has written to German Chancellor Angela Merkel calling on her to make greater progress on cutting government debts and reining in spending.
FTD Kathimerini WSJ 4 La Stampa blogs: Zatterin Kathimerini Express FT WSJ 2 Le Monde Les Echos FT Welt City AM 2 Expansión FAZ Welt

Open Europe: Bonfire of EU quangos could save member states millions every year
Open Europe’s new briefing, which notes that the cost of EU quangos to European taxpayers has risen by 33% over two years, now standing at €2.64bn, is cited by the Mail, Sun, City AM, The Parliament, Irish Examiner and German economics daily Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten. Open Europe’s Pawel Swidlicki is quoted as saying “Ironically, many of these bodies would never have survived the type of austerity programmes that the EU is now drawing up for member states as Europe fights through its worst crisis in a generation.” Open Europe’s Pieter Cleppe was also interviewed discussing the issue by Poland’s Polsat News.

Open Europe’s research shows there are currently 52 EU agencies, double the number in 2004, at least ten of which serve no unique purpose and ought to be abolished. Most of the remaining should be cut by 30%, saving EU member states just over €668m (£566.4m) every year, with the UK saving €100.4m (£82.6m), France saving €107.3m and Germany saving €136m.
Open Europe press release Open Europe briefing Sun DWN The Parliament City AM Mail Mail 2 Irish Examiner

Speaking in the House of Commons, Chancellor George Osborne has defended plans to increase the UK’s IMF contribution by £10 billion, following criticism from some Conservative MPs and shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, arguing, “We will not turn our back on the IMF or turn our back on the world.”
Telegraph Mail

ABC reports that Spain will temporary reinstate controls at its border with France and in a number of airports on the occasion of an ECB meeting in Barcelona on 3 May, due to concerns that violent groups of protesters from other EU member states may try to gather in the Catalan capital.
ABC Les Echos

In a private letter sent to lenders and seen by City AM, the Treasury’s Financial Secretary Mark Hoban expresses “serious concerns” about the way the EU is going about regulating pensions.
City AM Express

Hungarian PM Viktor Orban said yesterday that the Nubucco pipeline project, intended to reduce the EU’s reliance on Russian natural gas, was “in trouble” and that the Hungarian energy company MOL was pulling out.

EUobserver notes that campaigners have warned that the European Commission's draft law on personal data protection has too many loopholes, with special privileges for police a major concern.

The EU has decided to suspend its sanctions against Burma for one year, retaining only its embargo on arms sales.
Guardian Independent WSJ I

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