Chris Gilson and Stuart A Brown take a look at the week in Brussels blogging.

The EU Centre

Open Europe examine the results of the latest Eurobarometer survey, noting in particular that trust in the EU has reached an “all time low” amongst European citizens.

EU Foreign policy and the European neighbourhood

The European Student Think Tank looks at EU migration and asylum policy, especially in the wake of the Arab Spring. They say that, despite migration being politically controversial: “Tak­ing into account the EU’s aging pop­u­la­tion, depend­ence on immig­rant labour will become a neces­sity”.

Craig Willy looks at the possibility for the establishment of an EU super state in the next decade, and whether or not Europe is on the way to becoming a world power.

Credit: Éole Wind (Creative Commons BY NC SA)

The Euro Crisis

Coulisses de Bruxelles says that there has been a ‘general mobilization’ of the ECB and the United States to curb the runaway markets that are threatening Spain and Italy, especially now that ECB President Mario Draghi has vowed to “do what is necessary” in order to protect the Euro.  According to Lost in Europe, German Chancellor Merkel and Finance Minister Schäuble are under high pressure to relent and allow the ECB to intervene directly in bond markets. Meanwhile, A Fistful of Euros looks at the confusion as to what the German Bundesbank’s position on ECB intervention actually might be. The European Council on Foreign Relations says that the EU should give a banking licence to the European Stability Mechanism, especially as it is controlled by democratically elected national governments, and therefore has more legitimacy than the ECB.

Reaction to Draghi’s speech on Thursday provoked mixed reaction: Open Europe says that the lack of change to interest rates or of a move by the ECB to buy Eurozone debt disappointed the markets, Charlemagne says that he is walking a fine political line so that the ECB is not taken advantage of by debtor countries, while Economics Intelligence reckons that if you “read between the lines” of Draghi speech, the ECB will most definitely intervene in the bond markets in the future whether the Bundesbank likes it or not.

A common argument is that if struggling Eurozone countries were free from the constraints of the euro, they would be able to stimulate their economies by devaluing their currency, in much the same way as Argentinadid in the early 2000s. Nada es Gratis assesses this claim by looking at Argentina in more detail, concluding that currency devaluation is not likely to be as successful in the case of Greece and Spain. While Argentina’s devaluation did help, it was the later commodity boom that cemented that county’s recovery, something that is unlikely for Greece or Spain in the near future.

Across Europe

In Romania, President Traian Basescu narrowly survived an impeachment referendum on Sunday as turnout fell below the required 50%+1. Romanian MEP Monica Macovei argues that the low turnout was a rejection of the referendum by the electorate, while Corina Cretu, also an MEP, sees the result as a blow for democracy on the grounds that a large majority of those voting were in favour of impeachment.

Open Europe compares Spain and the UK’s immigration systems, saying thatSpain is moving to theUK’s system of ensuring EU immigrants can financially support themselves before allowing them to stay.

Croatia, the war and the future looks at how Croatia’s Finance Minister Slavko Linic has started to shame the country’s tax evaders by publishing the names of 130,000 businesses and individuals. The Croatian government hopes that this will help to raise revenue to assist the country’s economic recovery.

The OFCE blog looks at the French government’s new decree on rent controls. They conclude that while it will help some in the short term, at no cost to the government, to truly help those on poorer incomes, an increase in the stock of social housing is really needed.

And finally…

Polscieu looks at the role of the EU in organising the Olympic Games in London, noting that EU funding, EU decisions and European co-operation have all played a part in making the event a success. Meanwhile, Jon Worth says that if you still want Olympics tickets, it’s best to buy them via Belgium. Open Europe covers some (supposedly) light-hearted commentary from French President Francois Hollande against the UK over France’s relative medal successes at the Olympics, saying that ““We will put the French medals into the Europe pot, so that the British will be happy to be European.”

Au Café de l’Europe reviews a meeting this week of European bloggers hosted by the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the EU. The idea behind the meeting is to enhance contact between social media and the institution.


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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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