POLITICS & POLICY
The CETA trade deal between Canada and the EU is back in the spotlight. The treaty is closer to approval as the German Constitutional Court authorized the federal government to go ahead and sign the treaty on October 27 in Brussels.
The situation of the Greek economy remains a key concern for European institutional and political leaders. On Wednesday, ECB’s Director, Benoit Coeure, called for the Greek government to follow through on the economic reform plan agreed in the frame of the third bailout program. He said that “[t] is important that Greece gains as soon as possible access to the capital market in order to test the appetite of foreign investors”, Handelsblatt reports. His statement came only a few days after the Eurogroup decided to release €1.1 billion in financial aid to the Greek state. On Wednesday, the ECB called for the IMF to fully take part in the ongoing bailout plan. The ECB’s intervention is particularly important given that the IMF had recently hinted at taking up only an advisory role in the rescue of Greece in the upcoming months.
In the Eurogroup meeting of this week EU Finance ministers moved forward on other crucial fronts too. On Wednesday the European Commission announced that 10 EU member states are proceeding towards the definition of a common financial transaction tax in a bid to crack speculative manoeuvres in capital markets. The draft plan is backed by Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. Although Slovenia and Belgium threatened to withdraw their participation on several occasions, the two states eventually agreed to be involved, joined also by Austria, Greece, Portugal, and Slovakia. Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said that “there are positive steps forward and I hope we’ll have a final proposition by the end of the year”, El Pais reports.
Financial ministers of the biggest EU Member states clashed with the President of the Eurogroup, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, over the negotiations taking place to revise the Basel III regulation. While Germany and France are trying to limit the capital requirements that banks need to set aside for reasons of financial stability, Dijsselbloem said that the interest of single banks should not play a role compared to “the need of establishing strong quality standards”.
In other news, intra-EU migration flows make the headlines in Germany and across Europe. On Wednesday, the German Bundestag finalised a bill aimed at shrinking the possibility for EU citizens living in Germany to claim welfare benefits. In particular, the drafted law foresees that EU citizens need to prove that they have been living in Germany for the last 5 years – the current requirement is six months – before being entitled to out-of-work benefits. The measure is supported by local municipalities who stated to face financial pressure because of increasing welfare claims made by EU migrants.
Meanwhile, across the Channel, the political shift of the UK Conservative party outlined by Prime Minister Theresa May last week in Birmingham, gives rise to debate-worthy questions about the Brexit scenario. Is the UK government really following through on a “hard Brexit” that would leave the country out of the European Single Market? From the business world to politics, many a voice rose to counter such a move. However, a majority of representatives of the financial sector denied that there is a case for their institutions to relocate to other major European capitals, Handelsblatt reports.
After Amber Rudd, the UK Home Secretary, hinted at potential controls over the foreign-born workforce employed by Universities and businesses, Theresa May denied that any such policy has ever been on the government’s agenda. However, a new issue linked to EU immigration became a bone of contention between the Prime Minister and the leader of Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn: on Wednesday, Theresa May backed hospitals checking passports of recovered pregnant women in a bid to crack down on so-called “maternity tourism”.
“I am ashamed of being European as I look at how we deal with migrants today”
Leoluca Orlando, Mayor of Palermo
Source: Le Monde, 11.10.2016
The amount by which any forthcoming Spanish government needs to reduce its budget deficit to meet the European Commission’s requests.
Source: El Pais, 12.10.2016
Photo Credits CC EU2016 NL