The EUROPP team take a look at the week in Brussels blogging

The EU centre and the crisis

The main development this week was an agreement between Eurozone finance ministers over how to deal with failing European banks, which is seen as a key step toward creating a banking union. Alex Barber at the FT’s Brussels Blog has an overview of developments and some of the limitations of the agreement.

Snow at the European Parliament (Credit: European Parliament, CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Snow at the European Parliament (Credit: European Parliament, CC-BY-SA-3.0)

As Charlemagne’s notebook writes, optimism over the banking union agreement was tempered somewhat by the ratings agency Standard & Poor’s downgrading the EU’s credit rating from AAA to AA+. The article notes that the timing of the announcement was particularly irritating to EU officials, and has poured cold water on the notion that things are slowly improving in the Eurozone.

Elsewhere, the latest round of talks got underway on the proposed EU-US free trade deal on Monday. Ferdi De Ville and Gabriel Siles-Brügge at the Manchester Policy Blogs argue that many of the anticipated benefits of the deal do not stand up to scrutiny and that even if a deal is reached it is unlikely to significantly boost growth.

Across Europe

With the German coalition agreement finally approved by SPD members, the Centre for European Reform takes a look at what the new coalition might mean for the rest of Europe.

Meanwhile Frank Markovic at European Public Affairs writes that democracy should not be taken for granted in Hungary and other central and eastern European countries. Hungary is currently preparing to hold elections in spring 2014, with the ruling Fidesz party currently leading the polls.

In Italy, the biggest political development in recent weeks has been the election of Matteo Renzi as the new Secretary of the Democratic Party (Italy’s main centre-left party). Mattia Guidi argues at Policy Network that the substantial support Renzi received in the party primaries gives him a clear mandate to pursue significant reforms.

The European neighbourhood

With 2013 coming to an end, Judy Dempsey at the Strategic Europe blog looks back at the major developments in EU foreign policy throughout the year and discusses what the big foreign policy issues of 2014 might be.

One of the biggest issues in 2014 will undoubtedly be the EU’s relations with Ukraine. Sandra Fernandes writes at the e-International Relations blog on what the next steps are in the country’s delicate balance between the EU and Russia.

Elsewhere, the European Council on Foreign Relations has a look back at the last ten years of EU defence policy on the tenth anniversary of the first European Security Strategy agreement, which was approved by the European Council in 2003.

And finally…

As it’s Christmas… the OUP blog have a list of their top ten Christmas carols for 2013.

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Note:  This article gives the views of the author, and not the position of EUROPP – European Politics and Policy, nor of the London School of Economics.

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