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

The EU centre and the crisis

On Wednesday, the Party of European Socialists (PES) announced that they had selected Martin Schulz as their candidate for Commission President, ahead of the European elections next year. Jon Worth, writing at Policy Network, argues that while this may mark an important step in the future of EU democracy, the nomination process was poorly administered. The European Citizen also has reservations about the process, arguing that some form of primary election may have been a better option.

Vitali Klitschko, Credit: Chatham House (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Vitali Klitschko, Credit: Chatham House (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Earlier in the week, a US Treasury report generated some controversy after criticising Germany for running a current account surplus throughout the crisis. The report argues that the surplus has generated “a deflationary bias for the euro area, as well as for the world economy”.

Paul Krugman agrees with this perspective, arguing that the idea Germany has always generated a surplus due to the quality of its exports is misleading. Simon Wren-Lewis at Mainly Macro takes a more conciliatory approach, writing that although Germany’s current account surpluses are a key part of the problem in the Eurozone, the fault for this lies not with Germany, but with a number of macroeconomic myths which are driving the country’s policies.

Elsewhere, Open Europe question whether a change of German policy would have the sizeable impact predicted, while a wider range of opinions are also summarised at Bruegel.

Across Europe

The FRIDE blog profiles heavyweight boxer Vitali Klitschko, who has announced his intention to stand as a candidate in Ukraine’s Presidential election in 2015. Some opinion polls have indicated that if the election were to be held today, he would have a strong chance of beating incumbent President Victor Yanukovych.

Meanwhile, ahead of elections in Hungary next year, the Economist has a video preview of the campaign, with Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party currently enjoying a healthy lead in the opinion polls.

On a lighter note, Chris Dillow at Stumbling and Mumbling has a list of “ten lazy assumptions that are part of the mainstream political consensus” in the UK.

The European neighbourhood

The Strategic Europe blog compiles responses from seven experts on the question of whether EU-US negotiations over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) should be influenced by the recent spying allegations involving America’s National Security Agency.

With national governments due to meet in Warsaw next week for climate negotiations, Kevin Watkins at Project Syndicate argues that one of the key problems still facing the world is the existence of government subsidies for the development of fossil fuels. He writes that while removing subsidies for coal, gas and oil exploration would only be a small step towards tackling climate change, it would be an important step in restoring confidence that a global climate agreement can be reached.

And finally…

The OUP blog has a list of seven ‘unusual’ financial disasters from history, including the disastrous attempt to use copper coins in Sweden during the 1600s.

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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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