Daily Press Summary
Swedish government brought down by anti-immigration party after only two months in office
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven yesterday called snap elections for the 22 March 2015, only two months after the formation of this minority Social Democrat-Green coalition. The political crisis was triggered by the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats who voted to pass the centre-right opposition’s alternative budget instead of the government’s proposed budget. Following the announcement, the acting leader of the Sweden Democrats, Mattias Karlsson, said the snap elections would be a “de facto referendum” on immigration.
Open Europe Blog BBC FT WSJ EUobserver Expressen Aftonbladet
Putin warns the “language of force” does not work against Russia;
Kiev considers negotiations with separatists
Russian President Vladimir Putin this morning gave his annual address to the country’s parliament in which he announced an “amnesty” for capital returning to Russia and called for “harsh” measure on ruble “speculators”. He also said that sanctions are “harmful to everybody” and that “it’s pointless to talk to Russia in the language of force”. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government is considering holding talks with the pro-Russian separatist leaders next week as NATO and the EU apply pressure for Kiev to reverse its resistance to such negotiations. EurActiv reports that Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has said that a “reliable German source” has told him the chances of the Ukrainian conflict escalating into a broader war are “high.”
Bloomberg Bloomberg 2 BBC WSJ Euractiv
European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström yesterday promised MEPs a “fresh start” to the negotiations over the EU-US free trade agreement (TTIP) including greater transparency, more involvement from civil society and “ambitious and realistic” goals for EU access to the US goods, services and public procurement markets. Writing for Huffington Post.de, Open Europe’s Pieter Cleppe argues that rather than hitting the weak, TTIP will hurt vested interests.
European Parliament press release Huffingtonpost.de: Cleppe
The European Commission yesterday said that its “preliminary view is that the advanced pricing arrangements in favour of Starbucks Manufacturing EMEA BV [on behalf of the Dutch government] constitute state aid”, as it resulted in a reduced bill for the firm. Deputy Dutch Finance Minister Eric Wiebes said the deal was “fully in line” with international standards.
Kathimerini reports that it is looking increasingly likely that at least a one month extension will be needed to the Greek bailout at the end of this year, to allow negotiations between Greece and the EU/IMF/ECB Troika to conclude. The Troika continues to demand further structural reforms and fiscal cuts.
Kathimerini Reuters European Voice
Die Welt cites research by the New Social Market Initiative which finds that the introduction of the €8.50 per hour minimum wage in Germany next year could lead to the loss of between 250,000 and 570,000 jobs, with Eastern Germany being hit particularly badly.
European Digital Economy Commissioner Günther Oettinger has announced that he will next year review all EU legislation covering “electronic communications” and that he will set out his strategy for a digital single market in the first half of the year.
An Ipsos/MRBI poll for the Irish Times puts Sinn Fein in the lead on 22% ahead of Fianna Fail on 21%, Fine Gael on 19% and Labour on 6%.
The Irish Times reports that UK plans to devolve corporation tax rates to Northern Ireland announced in the UK’s Autumn Statement will, under EU rules, mean that Northern Ireland has to absorb any losses in corporation tax revenues.
The Telegraph reports that figures released by the UK’s Office for Budget Responsibility alongside the Autumn Statement show Britain will pay £100m a year more to EU than forecast.
Germany yesterday unveiled a €40bn boost in public and private investment up to 2018 which will be targeted at helping the country meet its EU carbon emissions target in 2020. Measures could include subsidies for home insulation and even closure of power stations.
Serbia has been hit hard by the scrapping of the South Stream gas pipeline from Russia to Europe which was due to cross its territory, as it will miss out on significant investment and gas transit payments.
Members of the European Parliament's Agriculture committee backed opening the EU market to Moldovan fruits and vegetables in a bid to help to country to deal with a Russian embargo.
European Parliament press release
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