The EUROPP team take a look at the week in Brussels blogging
Following speculation throughout the week, Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta resigned earlier today. Open Europe has a rundown on what might happen next, noting that Letta’s replacement Matteo Renzi is expected to resist calling snap elections.
In the UK, the three main parties in the British parliament ruled out the possibility of a currency union being formed between Scotland and the remainder of the UK should the Yes side win September’s referendum on Scottish independence. The Future of the UK and Scotland blog compiles responses on the impact the move will have on the referendum campaign, the views of business, and what other currency options are available. Meanwhile, Jon Danzig at EU ROPE suggests that there may be some strong similarities between David Cameron’s current push for Scotland to remain in the UK and the potential campaign he would lead to keep the UK in the EU in the referendum he has proposed for 2017.
Elsewhere, civil disorder has spread across Bosnia this month, with protesters demanding a change in government. Judy Dempsey at Strategic Europe asks several experts to assess the EU’s responsibility for the current protests and unrest. They suggest that the EU does share some of the blame for the current situation and that the international community as a whole has not paid enough attention to Bosnia in recent years. Laura McLeod at the Manchester Policy Blogs also argues that the issue of gender should not be forgotten amid the protests.
The EU centre and the crisis
Kevin Featherstone, writing at Policy Network, questions the success of bailouts and reform programmes in Greece. He suggests that while dealing with budget deficits is certainly a challenge, an even greater challenge is the structural reform which needs to be undertaken for Greece to emerge with a functioning economy. He cautions that the EU must play an active and engaging role in the reforms and that Greece must plan for the long-term.
Germany’s Constitutional Court recently ruled that the European Central Bank’s flagship stopgap measure as a lender of last resort in the crisis – Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) – does not comply with the EU treaties. Marcel Fratzscher writes in Project Syndicate that the ECB’s ability to act has been weakened and that treaty changes are likely necessary to address the situation. Alternatively, Hans-Werner Sinn argues that the court’s decision is fair and firmly based on the EU’s treaty framework.
Following last week’s referendum in Switzerland, which narrowly backed the reintroduction of immigration quotas in the country, Open Europe compiles responses from other European countries to the vote. On the same subject, Thomas Fillis at European Public Affairs draws a parallel between developments in Switzerland and the Netherlands. He writes that although both countries have had radically different approaches to Europe throughout their history, the popularity of the far right Party for Freedom in the Netherlands shows that nationalist and anti-European politics continue to have a wide appeal across different contexts.
The European neighbourhood
Garrick Hileman has an interesting discussion at Project Syndicate on the implications of the Bitcoin currency for international markets. He argues that while it is still too early to judge its full effects, the innovations pioneered by Bitcoin could play an important role in changing the global financial system.
With the situation in Ukraine still unresolved, the Fride blog has an overview of the protests and the key demands of opposition groups.
Meanwhile Ellie Geranmayeh at the European Council on Foreign Relations argues that Europe needs to maintain the momentum in discussions with Iran. She argues that after recent agreements there is a danger of developments slowing down before real progress can be made.
European Public Affairs has a rather unpalatable discussion about single market rules on the use of insects as food in Europe.
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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