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Moscovici provokes ire of Greek opposition parties by warning default would be “suicidal”

16 Dec 2014

Moscovici provokes ire of Greek opposition parties by warning default would be “suicidal”
Speaking during his visit to Athens yesterday, European Economics Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said that, “The eurozone is about obligations, mutual obligations…The idea of contemplating not reimbursing debt is, in my view, suicidal.” He added that he is aware Greece “cannot go [on] with the troika as it is”, promising, “a more balanced approach”. However, his intervention provoked the ire of opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras who said Moscovici was trying to “scare MPs in order to get over the hurdle of the presidential election”, but warned such tactics would not work. Separately, Greek Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis said that Greece is aiming to conclude the extended EU/IMF/ECB Troika review by 26 January 2015, though there are still 15 outstanding points of discussion.
FT Kathimerini Kathimerini 2 Kathimerini 3 Euractiv

The Russian Central Bank last night hiked interest rates to 17% following a 10% decline in the Rouble, after it forecast that, if the oil price remains at $60 per barrel, the Russian economy would contract by between 4.5% and 4.7% in 2015, and that capital outflows would reach $134bn this year.
FT
FT 2 City AM WSJ Bloomberg BBC Telegraph

Writing on Conservative Home, Fresh Start project Co-Chairman, Chris Heaton-Harris MP argues that, while the most desirable way to achieve fundamental EU reform is to change the EU Treaties, “there are a number of effective ways to achieve our goals without full treaty revision.” The Fresh Start project yesterday published a joint report with Open Europe which outlines a number of ways to achieve significant reforms, both through Treaty change and other means.
Conservative Home: Heaton-Harris MP Fresh Start and Open Europe: strategies for reform

Economic data released this morning showed that in December, the German private sector has been at its weakest for 18 months, though it continued to expand. The French private sector continued to contract, with the manufacturing sector in particular falling short of expectations and hitting a four month low.
Bloomberg Markit France PMI Markit Eurozone PMI

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager yesterday argued that “all of a sudden in most European countries we have a debate about corporate taxation [which provides] fertile ground for new proposals to change how corporate taxation works in the EU. This is truly new and I think it’s good news.”

WSJ


UKIP has secured £1.5m of EU funds by creating a new pan-European party, the Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe (ADDE), according to BBC Newsnight. The European Parliament could announce its approval of UKIP's application later this week and that the money will be available from April next year.
BBC City AM

Jyllands-Posten reports that, according to a new poll, Danes are split on whether to retain their EU justice and home affairs opt-outs, with 36.2% of Danes wanting to retain them, 30.9% who want to abolish them, and 32.9% who don’t know. The Danish government has announced it intends to hold a referendum on the issue in early 2016.
Fyens Europeans United for Democracy NyAgenda Poll Results Jyllands-Posten

Commission work programme promises action on EU migrants’ access to welfare
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will promise to tackle abuse of welfare payments and ensure “better coordination” of social security systems across EU states, according to a leaked draft copy of its work programme. Open Europe’s Stephen Booth is quoted in the Times as saying that David Cameron would be pleased at the plans to address rules around migrants’ access to welfare but disappointed at the absence of details on how to give national parliaments more control over EU decision making. The document also lists 80 proposals that the Commission intends to abolish which Stephen said “signals a positive change in attitude in Brussels.”
Times

In his speech on immigration yesterday, Labour leader Ed Miliband said his party would introduce a new law to stop the exploitation of migrants which leads to wages and conditions being undercut. He also pledged to limit in-work benefits paid to EU migrants to tackle undercutting by employers who rely on low skilled migrant labour, as proposed by Open Europe.
Times Times: Leader Miliband speech Open Europe briefing

Leader of the Commons William Hague will today publish proposals aimed at delivering ‘English votes for English laws’, Government sources have said. Three options will be proposed, including a full-scale ban on Scottish MPs voting on any stage of English-only legislation, but Labour has indicated that it would only support a committee of English MPs able to consider early stages of legislation but not to have the final say.
Mail

Spain’s anti-establishment party Podemos said yesterday that it would ask its voters for approval before entering any alliance with other parties after next year’s general election, El País reports. Separately, the Spanish government yesterday introduced a new €426 monthly benefit for long-term unemployed people, which can be paid out for a maximum of six months.
El País El Mundo FT

Belgium was brought to a standstill by the general strike that took place yesterday in protest against the government’s plans to make €11bn budget cuts over the next five years and to increase retirement age from 65 to 67 years.
RTBF

The Czech Finance Ministry and Central Bank said in a joint statement yesterday that the country needs to “increase the stability of its public finances…and the flexibility of its labour market” before setting itself a deadline for euro entry.
AFP

EU leaders criticised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after a series of arrests of journalists with links to the opposition, describing the move as incompatible with “European values.” In response, Erdogan argued that “the EU should mind its own business and keep its own opinions to itself.”
BBC
Welt EUobserver FT

About 15,000 people in the German city of Dresden have taken part in a march against the “Islamisation of the West”, the BBC reports.
BBC
EUobserver 

German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt hit back at European Transport Commissioner Violetta Bulc after she claimed Berlin’s proposed road levy would discriminate against other EU nationals, arguing that the Commission’s response contained a number of “mistakes” and did not take into account “the latest developments of our legislative plans.”
FT
FAZ Zeit

EU foreign ministers yesterday agreed to implement a German-British plan to revive Bosnia and Herzegovina's bid to join the bloc, which rests on a new government being formed which is committed to political and economic reforms.
EurActiv

A new CBOS opinion poll published yesterday shows that support for adopting the euro in Poland has fallen to an all-time low with 41% of Poles decidedly opposed, 27% somewhat opposed, 15% somewhat in favour and 9% decidedly opposed.
Open Europe blog
CBOS poll

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