Tuesday, 13 August 2013

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German election update: Would the SPD rather stay in opposition than become Merkel's "lackeys" again?
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What would leaving the EU mean for the UK's services sector?
Open Europe Blog

Lib Dems set to officially endorse in/out referendum and Treaty change to secure single market safe
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Daily Press Summary

Only 17% of Germans think the worst of eurozone crisis is over;
SPD accuses Merkel of lying about the 
need for additional aid for Greece
A poll by ING-DiBa AG and the University of Hohenheim shows that only 17% of Germans believe that the worst of the eurozone crisis is over, while 91% think that the crisis will still go on for a long time. Only 10% of Germans believe that politicians are being honest with citizens regarding eurozone issues.

Meanwhile, SPD budget spokesman Carsten Schneider said "by disputing the need for additional aid for Greece, the Chancellor [Angela Merkel] is lying to people before the election," adding "there will be a rude awakening after the election." Bernd Lucke, the leader of the anti-euro party ‘Alternative für Deutschland’, also accused Merkel of "throwing sand into the eyes" of voters.
FAZ Welt EU Observer

Mats Persson: Labour are confused over how to deal with EU free movement rules
Commenting on Labour shadow immigration minister Chris Bryant’s speech on his Telegraph blog, Open Europe Director Mats Persson argues that “There’s no way under EU law to ensure that British companies hire British workers for 'British jobs'. The questions are, first, whether this is a good thing and second, if not, what should be done about it. Bryant is confused on both questions… is [he] encouraging companies to violate EU rules?” Mats also appeared on Sky News discussing the speech and EU free movement while Open Europe’s Pawel Swidlicki was quoted by Polskie Radio.
Open Europe research: Free Movement Telegraph blogs: Persson Guardian Express Mirror Mail Polskie Radio City AM: Portes Telegraph: Johnston

Greek recession slows as privatisation programme picks up
Data released yesterday showed that the Greek economy contracted by 4.6% between the second quarter of 2012 and 2013 – the smallest contraction since 2011 – although it may still be tough for the Greece to meets its target of a 4.2% contraction for 2013 as a whole. Data also showed the government reached a primary surplus for the first seven months of the year. Separately, the Greek government has reached a deal to sell a 33% stake in Opap, the gaming monopoly, for €650m – providing a boost to the flagging privatisation programme. Meanwhile, Kathimerini reports that Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has written to Russian President Vladimir Putin to request a reduction in gas prices from Gazprom given that Greece pays around 30% above the European average for its gas.
Kathimerini FT Kathimerini 2 CityAM WSJ Süddeutsche Süddeutsche 2 Kathimerini 3

A spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron has said the UK is drawing up plans for legal action against Spain over the continued imposition of "politically motivated" border checks at its border with Gibraltar. Open Europe Mats Persson was quoted by Reuters discussing the legal ramifications of the dispute. 
Open Europe blog Reuters FT WSJ Telegraph BBC Guardian Mirror Mail ABC

On his Telegraph blog, Open Europe Director Mats Persson notes that the ‘trade deficit argument’ in favour of the UK leaving the EU overlooks the fact that the UK is a net exporter of services to the EU. He argues that “the UK would be vulnerable to tit-for-tat trade games in its key economic sector... This also spells problems for the City of London, currently used by a range of firms as an entry point to the single market”.
Open Europe research: Trading Palces Telegraph blogs: Persson
Many European countries, including Bulgaria, the poorest member of EU, are not taking up their full allocation of subsidies from the EU’s Structural and Cohesion Funds. The overall absorption rate across the EU27 countries between 2007 and 2013 is only estimated to be 55%, reportsSüddeutsche Zeitung.
Open Europe research: Off Target Süddeutsche

Commenting on a suggestion by a UK MEP for a cross-border EU police force with wide-ranging powers, Open Europe’s Pawel Swidlicki is quoted by CNBC as warning that such a move “would weaken accountability and democratic control.”
Open Europe research: An unavoidable choice Open Europe research: Co-operation not control CNBC

Economic data to be released tomorrow is expected to show that the eurozone emerged from its recession in the second quarter of this year, growing by 0.2%.
FT Irish Times: O’Brien EU Observer Telegraaf

The FT reports that an increasing number of US companies are using acquisitions or mergers with European firms to allow them to relocate to Europe in order to take advantage of the significantly lower corporate tax rates.

Reuters reports that EU regulations may have paved the way for European banks to load up on US municipal bonds – such as those from Detroit which recently defaulted – by allowing banks to hold minimal capital against the bonds and rate them based on the strength of their sovereign’s rating.

The FT reports that Angela’s Merkel’s chief of staff, Ronald Pofalla, yesterday revealed that Germany and the US will seek to negotiate a ‘no spying’ deal, including industrial surveillance, in the wake of the NSA scandal.

The European Commission announced yesterday that the proposal by Angela Merkel’s Bavarian sister party, the CSU, to impose road tolls on foreign car drivers would be illegal under EU law. 

Draft federal spending plans seen by Bloomberg News suggest that the German government is expecting to cut planned bond sales in 2014 from €240bn to €216.5bn. It expects to keep its budget balanced through increased tax collection and reduced spending.
Handeslblatt Bloomberg

Handeslblatt reports that Andrea Nahles, SPD General Secretary, revealed on Monday that the SPD will hold a party convention days after the 22 September federal election to decide on a course of action depending on the results. This may include talks on entering into a Grand Coalition – a move which the SPD has not yet decided upon.
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