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September 7th, 2012

Brussels blog round up for 1- 7 September: Barroso starts tweeting, Draghi’s big announcement, and a 6-day work week for Greece?


Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Blog Admin

September 7th, 2012

Brussels blog round up for 1- 7 September: Barroso starts tweeting, Draghi’s big announcement, and a 6-day work week for Greece?


Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

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

The EU centre 

Lost in EUrope complains that as the Eurozone crisis continues, EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso is likely to use his new Twitter account for PR rather than much needed crisis communication. The European Citizen also assesses the possibility of Barroso seeking a third term as Commission President in 2014 and the role of the main European political parties in selecting candidates for the Presidency.

Credit: Éole Wind (Creative Commons BY NC SA)

Federal Europe, writing at ponders whether federalizing the EU would reduce fraud, concluding that: “A Federal Europe might be plagued by the same problems as current National Administrations, but without doubt the powers of the Federal Administration would be greatly increased in dealing with those issues.”

EU-Logos at looks at the EU’s efforts to promote the ‘inclusion’ of Roma after France’s recent dismantling of Roma camps, such as requiring each member state to have an inclusion strategy, and funding projects for Roma. Martinned has a detailed round up of recent cases at the European Court of Justice, including judgements on refugees and free movement within the EU.

EU Foreign policy and the European neighbourhood

EU-Ukraine relations at has a look at the arrival of the new EU Ambassador to the Ukraine, Yan Tombinski, who is likely to be more friendly to the regime of President Viktor Yanukovych than his predecessor was.

The European Council on Foreign Relations looks at the UK’s relationship with the EU, and the likelihood that it may be redefined in the near future. Whether or not the UK will leave the EU now has as much to do with how the EU responds to the Eurozone crisis, as it does with the UK’s politics. Meanwhile, Open Europe looks at what the UK government’s recent Cabinet reshuffle means for the government’s relationship with Europe.

The Euro Crisis

Lost in EUrope previewed Thursday’s announcement by Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank (ECB), on bond purchases, saying that German Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann was not likely to ‘lose’ (he has opposed ECB intervention in government bond markets), as Draghi is only likely to intervene in the secondary bond market, and would not be able to provide immediate support in any case.

In the aftermath of Draghi’s statement, in which an extensive plan to intervene in bond markets was finalised, Open Europe looks at the extremely hostile reaction to the plan in Germany, including some of the main headlines in the German press. Spanish blog Nada es Gratis, perhaps unsurprisingly, is more positive about the ECB’s actions, calling it a “decisive step forward in resolving the Euro crisis”. The European Citizen also sees it as a positive step, but notes that more important developments are likely to take place when the prospect of fiscal and political union is discussed between Eurozone leaders.

In other ECB related activity, Protesilaos Stavrou, writing at, is highly critical of Mario Draghi’s recent comments that the debate about the Eurozone crisis is happening in a genuinely democratic context, saying that the current solutions to the crisis have actually been presented to the Eurozone’s citizens as a fait accompli.

This week, leaked plans by the “Troika” of the ECB, IMF and EU to reform the Greek labour market, includes increasing the working week to six days. Open Europe states that this policy may well push the EU’s working time directive to tis limits. On a similar theme, Craig Willy warns of the danger that the Eurozone crisis may destroy the European Social Model. He argues that left-wing organisations in Germany, in particular, have a responsibility to ensure that anti-democratic and anti-Keynesian principles do not become enshrined in EU law.

Nucleus at looks ahead to the 12 September decision by the German constitutional court on the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), saying that the potential transfer of sovereignty by the ESM may well require a referendum in Germany.

Across Europe

Place du Luxembourg looks at the upcoming elections in the Netherlands; a hung parliament is one potential outcome, meaning that the government would need the support of right-wing politician, Geert Wilders once again.

Debating Europe asks if Romania’s President Traian Băsescus hould have been impeached following that country’s referendum in late July, given that nearly 90 percent of the population voted for him to go.

Martinned looks at alleged tax evasion by the Dutch state rail company, NS, while Nada es Gratis critiques the Spanish government’s retraining programme for the unemployed, saying that it is essentially an extension of unemployment benefits.

Writing at, Marek Siwiec MEP is concerned about the on-going dispute over the Armenian (formerly Azerbaijani) region of Nogorno-Karabakh. This dispute has been brought to the fore this week as an Azerbaijani army lieutenant convicted of murdering an Armenian eight years ago in Hungary has just been released back to Azerbaijan by the Hungarian authorities to serve the remainder of his life sentence. On his arrival back in Azerbaijan however, he was immediately pardoned and promoted.

And finally…

You can celebrate with Au Café de L’Europe as it marks its first birthday.

Dimitris Rapidis at wonders if the EU will institute a version of the US’ Rex 84, which outlines continuity of government if the constitution is suspended.

And what has the EU’s President Herman van Rompuy been up to? This week, he met with Prime Minister of Georgia, Ivane Merabshvili, Serbian Prime Minister Ivika Dacic, President of the Former Yugoslvav Republic of Macedonia, Gjorge Ivanov, spoke to the annual conference of EU heads of Delegation in Brussels, and visited France.


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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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