Wednesday, 14 August 2013

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See you in Court? UK-Spanish dispute over Gibraltar rumbles on
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Greece appeals to Russia over natural gas prices
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German election update: Would the SPD rather stay in opposition than become Merkel's "lackeys" again?
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Daily Press Summary

Merkel: Lets discuss return of powers from Brussels
Speaking to German TV Channel Phoenix and Deutschlandfunk radio on Tuesday evening, German Chancellor Angela Merkel argued that, when it comes to discussions over EU competences such as the one currently taking place in the Netherlands, “We can also think: are we going to give anything back [to member states]?” Merkel added that the German government “will have this discussion after the Bundestag elections” and underlined that ‘more Europe’ could manifest itself through better cooperation between the EU member states, rather than the strengthening of the EU institutions in Brussels.
Deutschlandfunk Phoenix
Germany and France grow more than expected to pull eurozone out of recession
Economic data released this morning showed that the eurozone exited recession in the second quarter of this year growing by 0.3%. Both Germany and France beat expectations growing 0.7% and 0.5% respectively, with investment driving growth in the former and consumption in the latter. Portugal smashed expectations growing 1.1% in Q2 compared to expectations of 0.1% growth. Austrian GDP also grew above expectations, although the Dutch economy contracted by 0.2%. Open Europe’s Raoul Ruparel appeared on BBC Five Live this morning discussing the figures.
Bloomberg Reuters WSJ FT Reuters Deutschland Reuters Spiegel FAZ Süddeutsche DWN Guardian Reuters 2
Italian President Giorgio Napolitano yesterday backed away from the prospect of giving Silvio Berlusconi a pardon following his conviction for tax fraud, saying that the result of such a definitive ruling “must be taken into consideration and its consequent obligations [must be] applied”. He added that he was aware of the “political tensions” but insisted that dissolving the parliament is “unfeasible”.
SPD German chancellor candidate Peer Steinbrück said in an interview yesterday that a Greek exit from the euro must be avoided as it carries “incalculable” risks. He added that he would need to clean up the mess caused by current German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “one-sided” approach to the eurozone crisis.
Alfred Bosch, leader of the ERC – the largest Catalan separatist party - has written to Fabian Picardo, chief minister of Gibraltar, to express its “solidarity” against the recent “bullying and harassment” by the Spanish government, reports the FT. The letter further states that “the only solution to the issue of the Rock, as with the issue of Catalonia, is through dialogue, suffrage and the principle of self-determination.”
Open Europe blog FT EUobserver
Central Bank Governor Panicos Demetriades said yesterday that Cyprus should have sought a bailout earlier and that it could have secured “better terms” if it had done so. He added that the significant investment by Cypriot banks into Greek government debt, which was heavily written down, “should not have been allowed to proceed”.
Cyprus Mail Cyprus Mail 2 Reuters HLN
The Irish Independent reports that, according to data from the Central Bank of Ireland, Irish household debt stood at €172.3bn in the first quarter of the year, €31.5bn down from its peak in 2008 and the lowest levels seen since 2006. Separately, data showed that lending to business fell, with total debt of non-financial corporations at €318bn.
Irish Independent
A new Forsa poll for Handeslblatt shows that 45% of Green party voters would prefer to see Angela Merkel remaining as Chancellor. 57% of all respondents would like to see Merkel’s Chancellorship continue.
New EU rules on state aid due to be published soon could make it easier to use taxpayers' money to fund new nuclear power stations. The move could pitch anti-nuclear nations, such as Germany and Austria, against those willing to support the technology, including Britain and the Czech Republic.
The Czech government formally resigned yesterday after losing a confidence vote last week. The lower house will meet on 20 August and is expected to vote on a motion to dissolve parliament, clearing the way for early elections that could resolve the country’s political deadlock.
Süddeutsche AFP Aktualne Radio.cziDnes Lidovky
The New York Times reports that Germany is struggling in its fight to arrest its demographic decline – with the country’s population set to drop by 19% by 2060 - even while spending $265bn annually on family subsidies.
Handeslblatt reports that the EU Commission is demanding €180m back in agricultural aid from 15 member states due to irregularities in direct payments to farmers. The aid, paid out in 2007-2008, will see the UK and Poland paying back the largest sums – €59m and €30.4m respectively – while Germany will have to reimburse €7.2m.
EUobserver Elsevier EC Press Release Expansion
A report from the office of the EU’s Antitrust Commissioner, Joaquín Almunia, has called for 28 national telecoms regulators to be replaced by a single European watchdog. It expresses unusually sharp criticism over a set of proposals from the EU’s telecoms chief, Neelie Kroes, for being too unambitious.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has issued plans to boost the funding of an initiative called Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas (Jessica), which helps to fund real-estate projects in smaller cities where lending is seen as too risky.

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