POLITICS & POLICY
The Greek economy is under the spotlight as European and International creditors backed Athens’s demand for fresh funding to repay the European Central Bank (ECB). Meanwhile, the Syriza government led by Alexis Tsipras kicked off a series of “growth conferences” in the country. These events are aimed at winning back public support, as the centre-right New Democracy (ND) party leads the polls with a 13 % advantage on Syriza. Moreover, according to Handelsblatt, the Greek government aims at establishing a new public investment bank by spring 2018. The latter should help small and medium enterprises in the country to develop their business. On Monday, the Director of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), Klaus Regling, called for the Greek government to prepare its comeback on financial markets to raise resources autonomously, on the basis of its economic fundamentals.
In Germany, the electoral campaign for the September general elections is gaining momentum. The two main parties, namely the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD), published their manifestos last week. Both parties say that they want to foster European integration around the Franco-German axis. Nevertheless, the SPD pledges to establish a fully-fledged European Social Union as a counterweight to the economic focus of the current governance of the Eurozone. On the other hand, the CDU stressed the need for the ESM to become a sort of European Monetary Fund, which would tackle financial and economic emergencies within the Eurozone. Moreover, the CDU claims that any EU reform project involving debt-sharing among Member States is off-the table.
Meanwhile, the German Liberal Party (FDP) is projected to enter the German Bundestag as the third biggest political force. The FDP pushes for supply-side economics, both at the national and the European level. As a consequence, the party runs on a political platform closer to the CDU one than to the Socialist one. FDP leader Christian Lindner said that Germany needs to develop an immigration law able to distinguish between temporary asylum seekers and economic migrants. Moreover, Lindner shut the door to the prospects of developing a Europe-wide social insurance scheme.
In other news, Brexit is making the headlines in the UK and in Brussels. On Monday, the European Parliament (EP) issued a warning claiming that it might veto the final Brexit deal should the involved parties not grant full rights to EU nationals living in the UK. The EP’s chief Brexit negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt, wrote an op-ed for The Guardian that gained wide resonance in the European public sphere. Meanwhile, after the snap elections of last month, UK Prime Minister Theresa May struggles to keep the MPs of the Conservative party in line. Over the weekend, anti-Brexit MPs from different parties announced the establishment of a parliamentary front that will work against a hard Brexit scenario. Moreover, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn declined an invitation sent out by Theresa May to work together on the definition of policies for post-Brexit Britain. Corbyn currently leads opinion polls by a 6-point advantage over the PM.
“We now have 16 consecutive quarters of growth in the euro area. So we had some debate on whether we can still talk about the recovery phase or whether we are now in the expansion phase […] The risk of deflation is disappearing and there is no direct sign of overheating in our economies. So that is where we stand economically. On that basis, both the Commission and the European Fiscal Board advised a broadly neutral stance. So that is what we are taking into consideration when we prepare our draft budgetary plans at national level.”
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, President of the Eurogroup
Source: European Council, 10.07.2017
The number of Irish workers who would benefit from a rise in the minimum wage, according to a report of the Low Pay Commission of the national Government.
Source: Irish Times, 10.07.2017
Photo Credits CC:http://underclassrising.net/
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