Chris Gilson and Stuart A Brown take a look at the week in Brussels blogging.
The EU centre
In July, the European Commission proposed a substantial package of reforms of the Common Fisheries Policy which are due to be voted on in the European Parliament next month. Alice Fourrier at Fride writes that the reforms overlook the growing problem of EU fishing vessels sailing outside of EU waters, particularly along the west coast of Africa. The article states that far from discouraging this practice, the current EU policy is to offer subsidies for fishing in foreign waters, which is badly damaging the livelihoods of African fishing communities.
According to Karpenteich at Blogactiv.eu, Angela Merkel is in the process of reshaping the EU, attempting to transform it into a larger version of Germany’s federal system. Later in the week, Open Europe has a good summary of Germany’s efforts to push for a new treaty to expand the EU’s budget oversight powers.
Debating Europe asks a number of commentators and MEPs if a pan-European media is needed.
The Digger looks at the European Commission’s appeal to the European Court of Justice over its ruling that the Commission was wrong to deny citizens and citizens’ groups the right to ask for a review of its decisions on environmental issues. He comments that while the EU claims that it is for its citizens, “if citizens try to question the Commission’s decisions, the hand of generosity is withdrawn”.
EU Foreign policy and the European neighbourhood
The European Council on Foreign Relations looks at France’s diplomatic relationship with China, in the context of Europe and the US relationships with the country.
The GMF blog says that the US may cost its own consumers up to $22 billion if it makes it illegal for its own airline carriers to sign up to the EU’s emissions trading scheme.
The Euro Crisis
Lost in EUrope says that there is now growing resistance in France and the Netherlands to Germany’s fiscal pact. According to Open Europe, Germany now faces some tough decisions on the European Central Bank (ECB), especially as German members of the ECB’s Council have differing views on the potential for greater intervention by the ECB. Ahead of the meeting of the ECB’s Governing Council next week, the Centre for European Reform wonders how seriously investors can take ECB President Mario Draghi’s assurances.
Beyond Brussels profiles a recent report from the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce that finds that some of the crisis countries are becoming more competitive. Is this the light at the end of the tunnel for the Eurozone? Meanwhile, Dimitris Rapidis at Blogactiv.eu wonders if the debt crisis is also a crisis of European identity, as national identities are now re-asserting themselves.
Florian Pantazi, also at Blogactiv.eu, draws a comparison between struggling western economies and China, arguing that the existence of a neo-liberal ‘Washington consensus’ is the root of economic problems in Europe: “For too long, states have been treated like enterprises and forced to cut essential expenditures such as social security allocations and pensions, to close down hospitals and to starve the education systems for funds.”
Craig Willy makes a case for treating the Eurozone separately from the rest of the EU in wider discussions about democracy. He writes that while the EU is “a reasonably democratic multinational institution based in Brussels”, the Eurozone is “an almost completely unaccountable and dysfunctional Eurocracy of central bankers and lawyers”.
Dimitris Rapidis at Blogactiv.eu takes an in-depth look at efforts to reduce Greece’s deficit, saying that while public sector wages have been squeezed, there is still a massive (and mostly unaddressed) problem with tax evasion. Protesilaos Stavrou assesses the prospect of extending the terms of the Greek bailout programme. He characterises the current position of the Greek government as a delaying strategy and advocates an organised default to allow the country to get back on its feet.
Croatia, the war and the future looks at the on-going conflicts between Croatia’s president Ivo Josipovic and the president of the Independent Democratic Serb Party Milorad Pupovac. Josipovic believes that Pupovac should not be the sole voice for Croatia’s Serb minority.
What has Herman van Rompuy, President of the European Council, been up to? This week, he was in Spain for talks with Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy.
Au Café de l’Europe has a good overview of how the ECB operates.
Reuniting Europe at Blogactiv.eu notes that the FT this week has mixed up their Marios – Draghi and Monti.
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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