Chris Gilson takes a look at the week in Brussels blogging.
The EU centre and the crisis
Jon Worth looks at six potential candidates from the European People’s Party for the President of the European Commission, including the Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, and the current IMF head, Christine Lagarde. Meanwhile, Ralf Grahn profiles how some of the Europarties are beginning to prepare for the European Parliamentary elections in May, 2014, while Décrypter la communication européenne makes the important point that the political parties and parliamentary groups have been allocated €92 million for political communication in 2013. The Verfassungsblog looks at the debate in between some of Germany’s political parties and its Constitutional Court over the threshold for German parties to enter the European Parliament. Romanian MEP Corina Cretu writes that the decision of the country’s Prime Minister Victor Ponta, to attend the upcoming European Council meeting on 22 May is a sign of normalcy for the country.
Craig Willy has an in-depth look at how the Euro crisis has accelerated the continent’s demographic decline. Real Time Brussels reports that Sweden’s Finance Minister, Anders Borg has had a change of heart over austerity – he had previously been in favour of greater cuts, but now argues that the EU countries need to spend more. The Centre for European Reform argues in favour of a dose of inflation for the eurozone, saying that in combination with low interest rates, inflation could encourage greater spending.
Meanwhile, Open Europe looks at splits in Germany over banking union: Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has argued against it until further treaty changes occur, while German ECB Board Member Jörg Asmussen has expressed the view that a centralised banking authority should be set up as soon as possible. As emergency loans to portugal of €2.1 billion are approved, Lost in EUrope has a catalog of austerity measures that the country must now undertake, including the loss of 30,000 civil service jobs, the raising of the retirement age to 66, and an extended working week of 40 hours. Open Europe has a good roundup of where each EU state stands in terms of bail-ins – some big splits still remain.