POLITICS & POLICY
The refugee crisis continues to divide the Member States of the European Union. After the Italian Government called for the EU to help deal with the influx of migrants through the Mediterranean, some Austrian officials warned, on Tuesday, that the country could militarise its southern borders in order to prevent the entrance of new asylum seekers. However, subsequently the Austrian Government denied any intention of the sort.
In a long interview published in the German economic newspaper Handelsblatt the Austrian Social Democratic Prime Minister, Christian Kern, backed Italy’s demands for more European financial and logistic support. Moreover, Kern blasted Eastern Member States such as Hungary and Poland for not stepping up their efforts in tackling the refugee crisis. Kern said that the “EU is no ATM cash machine”, and called for EU Member States to gather around a set of “common values”. The Austrian PM also said that, over the past few years, the EU has been wrongly understood as a zero-sum game by its Member States. Touching upon the economic governance of the EU, Kern said that the 2% inflation target of the European Central Bank, and the 3% deficit rule set in the Stability and Growth Pact cannot be the only common objectives of the Union. Kern called for the EU to define common minimal social standards and fight against unemployment through the setup of a Europea-wide investment initiative.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday the European Commission announced that it will unlock new financial help to support Italy’s efforts. The plan, which was presented at the European Parliament in Strasbourg and will be approved on Thursday on the occasion of a meeting of EU Ministers in Tallinn, includes an additional €35 million in financial support for the Italian coast guard.
The monetary policy of the European Central Bank is making the headlines across Europe. New data released by the European Central Bank show that the Frankfurt-based financial institution is falling short of reaching its targets for the acquisition of Finnish, German, Irish and Portuguese bonds, in the frame of its EU-wide quantitative easing programme.
As reported by the Irish Times, at the same time the purchase of Italian and French bonds is exceeding initial objectives. According to some financial experts, the ECB’s holdings of German bonds are approaching the so-called 33% issuer limit. As explained by the ECB itself “the issuer limit refers to the maximum share of an issuer’s outstanding securities that the ECB is prepared to buy”, in the attempt of “safeguarding market functioning and price formation as well as to mitigate the risk of the ECB becoming a dominant creditor of euro area governments”. Nevertheless, in a note of June 2017, the ECB stated to have increased such a limit to 50% for international or institutions located in the euro area, such as the European Stability Mechanism or the European Investment Bank.
“France and Germany are getting closer. Together with the new French Government we will work in order to stabilise the Eurozone. We are ready to step up efforts in tackling the economic and financial crisis as well as youth unemployment in some of the EU Member States. Because we want the success of all [Member States]. For the Christian and Democratic Union (CDU) it goes without saying that all Member States need to abide by shared common rules. We reject any debt-sharing policy among EU Member States”.
Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU)
Source: Party Manifesto of the CDU, 03.07.2017
€ 4 million
The sum invested by the European Commission for an infrastructure and energy project connecting Irish and French energy grids via an undersea cable. The plan is meant to reduce Ireland’s energy dependence on the UK in light of Brexit.
Source: EurActiv, 05.07.2017
Photo Credits CC: KERA News
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