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Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

11.03.11: Eurozone debt crisis intensifies on eve of summit - 2 views

  • Moody's cut Spain's debt rating yesterday (10 March), pushing the euro lower and deepening the sense of crisis in the 17-nation currency bloc on the eve of a crucial EU summit in Brussels.
  • A French presidential source said euro zone leaders would discuss Portugal's measures to cope with its financial problems at Friday's summit but they were not working on a rescue plan. EU sources said Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates is under intense pressure from his peers and the European Central Bank to announce additional austerity measures and accelerate economic reforms. The sources said he would make a statement to the leaders at the start of a summit on Friday on his commitment to deeper reforms, including to the labour market
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

08.03.11 ECB turned blind eye to predatory lending, ex-EU-ambassador says - 1 views

  • The European Central Bank turned a blind eye to "irresponsible lending" by German, French, British and Belgian banks, the European Union's former ambassador to the United States, John Bruton has said. In a damning speech at the London School of Economics on Monday (7 March) evening, Mr Bruton, also a former Irish prime minister of the same conservative political stripe as the current leader-elect, Enda Kenny, has accused Frankfurt of failing to use its powers to rein in speculative bubbles in countries such as Ireland and Spain.
  • "From 2000 on, British, German, Belgian, French banks, and banks of other EU countries lent irresponsibly to the Irish banks in the hope that they too could profit from the then obtaining Irish construction bubble," he said. "They were supervised by their home central banks, and by the ECB ... who seemingly raised no objection to this lending."
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

04.03.11: European Socialists propose alternative to Barroso-Van-Rompuy pact - 0 views

  • Europe's Socialist leaders have proposed a ‘growth pact' as an alternative to the ‘competitiveness pact' originally proposed by France and Germany as a solution to the bloc's economic woes. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann and most of the continent's social democratic leaders, many of whom currently sit on opposition benches in their parliaments, including French Socialist leader Martine Aubry and Germany's head of the SPD, Sigmar Gabriel, met at a summit in Athens to co-ordinate their strategy ahead of an EU summit where a ‘comprehensive response' to the eurozone crisis is to be finalised.
  • The centre-left leaders endorsed a plan that still backs austerity, but alongside it the introduction of a financial transactions tax that they say would deliver €250 billion a year to European coffers that could be invested in green technologies and infrastructure.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

04.03.11: Centre-right leaders prepare economic battle-lines - 0 views

  • Europe's centre-right leaders are gathering in Helsinki to prepare the political family's strategy ahead of two crucial summits on economic issues later this month. An overhaul of the bloc's emergency lending fund, fiscal discipline and measures to boost economic competitiveness are all high on the agenda of Friday (4 March) evening's meeting. Print Comment article "We are preparing for the eurozone summit on 11 March so we can agree on significant measures there to stabilise the euro and strengthen the competitiveness of the EU," German Chancellor Angela Merkel told journalists prior to the talks.
  • Berlin meanwhile is keen so see any changes to Europe's emergency lending fund accompanied by tough new fiscal laws and measures to boost the economic competitiveness of member states.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

03.03.11: Denmark eyeing referendum on euro - 0 views

  • The EU's economic convergence plans are forcing Denmark to reconsider its euro opt-out, with a referendum on "modernising" Copenhagen's relation with Brussels possibly taking place by June. With plans for a "Competitiveness Pact" currently being drafted by EU institutions to replace a Franco-German draft on pensions harmonisation and constitutional "debt brakes", Denmark does not want to be left out of the decision-making process, due to not being in the single currency.
  • Dubbed the "Big Bang model", a referendum on all three opt-outs may be more successful than holding a referendum just on euro adoption, with 45 percent of Danes in favour of this move, according to a Megafon poll carried out in February. But the margin is still narrow, with 43 percent opposing it and 12 percent undecided. A strong advocate for Denmark's euro-accession is Belgian Liberal MEP Guy Verhofstadt, who points to the fact that the country's economy is already fully integrated into the eurozone and that the Danish krone is pegged to the euro. In addition, he believes that there is a need for a small country like Denmark to counter-balance Germany and France who "dictated" the competitiveness pact being currently drafted for the 17 member-strong eurozone.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

28.02.11: Lukewarm response to Barroso-Van-Rompuy economic plan - 1 views

  • New proposals on joint economic governance put forward by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and EU Council chief Herman Van Rompuy on Monday (28 February) have failed to overcome resistance from some member states.
  • The Barroso-Van-Rompuy plan does contain a requirement that German-style 'debt brakes' be implemented across the eurozone, however. Resistance to this element comes from those who do not want to open the Pandora's Box of constitutional amendments this could entail. Opposition to the Franco-German pact also revolved around the proposal that countries that maintain inflation-indexed wage systems abandon this practice. Belgium and Luxembourg in particular were resistant.
  • As key figures on the left in Europe, including within the commission itself, have begun to issue their misgivings over the path of austerity chosen by the EU as a response to the crisis, the commission warned social democrats that throughout the crisis, they have also backed this process. Last week, Greece's EU commissioner, Maria Damanaki, publicly distanced herself from EU austerity, saying it is leading to "social degradation." Former commission president Jacques Delors, a French Socialist, has also called the commission's recent Annual Growth Survey, a first step in the EU's new system of oversight of and intervention in national budgets, as "The most reactionary document ever produced by the commission."
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

19.03.09: EU leaders to discuss response to economic crisis - 0 views

  • EU leaders are meeting in Brussels on Thursday and Friday to discuss the best ways to get out of the economic crisis. But despite some calls to spend more to support the bloc's ailing economies, most of the attention is expected to be focused on the need for better regulation of the financial sector and on "fine-tuning" the existing European economic stimulus package.
  • In the face of the persisting economic turmoil, France and Germany's leaders sent a letter to the Czech EU presidency and to the president of the European Commission on Tuesday reiterating what they see as an urgent need to reform the financial system. "The top priority is building up the new global financial architecture. The European Union must affirm a common position and take the lead in this process," French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel wrote.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

27.02.09: Germany may bail out troubled eurozone states - 0 views

  • German chancellor Angela Merkel has given the strongest signal to date that her country may come to the rescue of embattled eurozone economies. "We have shown solidarity and that will remain so. We should use Sunday's summit [in Brussels] for member states affected to give an honest report of their situation," she said on Thursday evening (26 February) at a press conference in Berlin.
  • Certain conditions are likely to be attached to any support plan offered by Berlin. While Ms Merkel refused to be drawn on the exact nature of financial support, she made it clear that action to tackle excessive budget deficits would be a stipulation for receiving aid. She indicated such action could be carried out under Article 100 of the Maastricht Treaty that allows financial assistance to be given to countries experiencing "difficulties caused by natural disasters or exceptional occurrences beyond its control." "Of course there is a certain interpretative room to manoeuvre in the stability and growth pact and a country like Ireland that has been hit quite hard by the banking crisis is clearly in a different situation to a country like Slovakia with fewer banks," said Ms Merkel.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

30.12.08: Ten years on, eurozone takes on a16th member - 0 views

  • Ten years after the original 11 countries in western Europe set up a common currency, the monetary union is due to enlarge to Slovakia, as its 16th member state and the first in central Europe to switch to the euro.
  • "The Slovak economy was able to fulfil al the conditions required to join the euro less than five years after the country entered the EU and this had required a political will and a very dynamic economy. Now it's the time to reap the benefits of sharing the same currency," with 325 million Europeans in the 15-strong eurozone.
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