Political Briefing #15/2016

POLITICS & POLICY

EU – Monetary Union: Finland’s position

A number of member states agree with the European Commission and the European Central Bank that the EU requires more cooperation. The German and French central banks have recently proposed the creation of a EU-wide common finance ministry to strengthen the Union’s decision-making process. In a report published in June 2015, the EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker stated that the EU needed a deeper monetary union. Nonetheless, certain countries such as Finland, whilst optimistic, are more cautious and believe the EU must proceed “step by step in a very pragmatic fashion,” without taking “any big leaps towards a shared economic policy.”

Source: Yle, 21/02/2016

Germany/France – Debt crisis: Interesting encounters

According to Kathimerini, even though the idea of Greece leaving the EU for a five-year “time out” was made public only the occasion of the the July 11, 2015 Eurogroup, German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed this posibility with French President Francois Hollande a few days before then. It seems that, at the time, Hollande made clear that he did not believe this scenario would solve Greece’s situation. It is believed that Merkel proposed such a measure thinking that it would force the Greek government to accept a new bailout deal.

Source: Ekathimerini, 21/02/2016

Greece – Debt Crisis: Pension reform

Greece is ready to cut pensions above €1,000 a month to secure an agreement with its lenders on the bailout review. Pension cuts would bring about savings for about €400 million. However, the government wants to understand why the International Monetary Fund believes that, between now and 2018, 4.5 percent of Greece’s GDP (around €8 billion) is needed in fiscal measures. Indeed, the government believes the amount needed is much lower.

Source: Ekathimerini, 21/02/2016


THE STATEMENT

“David Cameron has worked hard, but like many prime ministers before him, thought only of what Britain can get, not about what is also good for our neighbours in Europe. It is self-centred, myopic and in the long term a disaster, as other countries decide they too, by looking inwards, will gain short-term benefit. I was ashamed as I watched the nit-picking detail the poor man went through. I now believe that Europeans, as I consider myself to be, will be better off with Britain out. We have stopped the concept of Schuman and Monnet, with the support of Churchill, from coming to fruition, though it has provided peace and democracy to many who had trauma and dictatorship. So I will campaign for Europe, but by voting for the UK to leave, hoping that without us they can have an “ever closer union””.

Peter Downey, from the Letters section of The Guardian

Source: The Guardian, 21/02/2016


NUMBERS

80%

The percentage of Portuguese companies that do not manage to pay back credits.

Source: Portugal Resident, 21/02/2016

0.5%

The percentage by which the Maltese sovereign debt was reduced in 2015.

Source: Times of Malta, 20/02/2016


Photo credits CC: Conservatives


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