Daily Press Summary
Greek snap election looms as government falls short of votes to elect new President
The Greek parliament yesterday failed to support the election of the Greek government’s presidential candidate Stavros Dimas – who gained 160 votes, well short of the 200 needed and slightly below the government’s expectations. A second ballot will be held on 23 December, with a final third round potentially on 29 December. Separately, Kathimerini reports that, according to a document submitted to the German Bundestag yesterday as part of its approval process of the extension of the Greek bailout, a €10.9bn precautionary credit line could be forthcoming after the bailout ends. The document also says that the European Commission puts Greece’s funding needs for next year at between €6bn and €12bn.
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Het Financieele Dagblad reports that the Dutch governing coalition is at risk of collapsing, after senators from the centre-left PvdA party refused to back healthcare reforms tabled by a minister of the centre-right VVD. Coalition talks are under way, and it is unclear whether Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte will be able to attend the European Council summit in Brussels today.
The European Court of Justice has ruled that a British-Irish citizen should be allowed to bring his Colombian wife to the UK from their home in Spain without her having to apply for a travel visa, potentially weakening UK immigration control of non-EU nationals.
Ukraine struggles to find EU support for the further $15bn in aid it requires
The FT reports that, according to unnamed EU officials, there is little appetite amongst EU leaders to provide the further $15bn in aid Ukraine is seeking. This is despite the Ukrainian government warning it could default without such assistance. EU leaders will discuss the bailout at the EU summit this evening, but no final decision is expected. The UK government said it “recognised the importance of supporting the Ukrainian government in the huge economic challenges it faces.” Separately, the German government has confirmed that the looming economic crisis in Russia will not change the EU’s stance on its economic sanctions.
The Telegraph reports that French President François Hollande will make it clear to David Cameron at today’s EU summit that he is not willing to agree EU treaty changes. The paper speculates that France fears that re-opening the EU treaty would strengthen Germany’s push for new Eurozone powers to supervise national budgets.
Swedish news agency TT reports that a new Novus poll has put the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats on 16%, higher than the 12.9% the party won in September’s general election. Sweden will be holding snap elections on 22 March 2015.
In a letter to the FT, business groups from around Europe, including the CBI, Germany’s BDI, France’s Medef and Italy’s Confindustria, urge “national governments across the EU to promote and deliver an ambitious” free trade deal between the EU and US, highlighting that consumers will be the “ultimate winners”.
FT letters: CBI et al
The EU is expected to unveil tougher rules on the way broker research is paid for by banks and asset managers. The Financial Conduct Authority, the UK’s financial regulator, has been pushing for an outright ban on investors being charged for research out of broker-dealer commissions – a move opposed by large parts of the asset management industry.
Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta said yesterday that his country is “ready” to join the EU’s free travel Schengen area, and reiterated the intention to join the euro by 2019.
Catalan President Artur Mas said yesterday that he is prepared to call early regional elections next spring, provided that all the pro-independence parties agree to run as a single list – effectively turning the vote into a proxy for a referendum on Catalonia’s independence.
The European Commission will ask all EU member states to provide a full list of tax rulings granted to companies between 2010 and 2013, following the decision to widen an investigation into alleged sweetheart tax deals struck between businesses and national governments.
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A new ICM/Guardian poll shows support for the Conservatives falling after the Autumn Statement, putting the party on 28% and Labour on 33%. The Lib Dems and UKIP are both on 14%, and the Greens are on 5%.
New figures from the UK’s Electoral Commission show that UKIP spent almost as much as the Conservatives for this year’s European Parliament election campaign, while the Lib Dems outspent Labour.
ECB Executive Board Member Benoît Coeuré told the WSJ, “I see a broad consensus around the table in the [ECB’s] Governing Council that we need to do more…It’s not that much of a question on whether we should do something, but more a discussion on the best way to do it.” He added that, given the size of the market, purchases of government bonds are the “baseline option”, but other assets could also be included.
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The WSJ reports that Uber, the app-based taxi company, has asked the European Commission for a procedural ruling on whether a new French law which limits the use of taxi apps was implemented correctly, given that the French government did not notify the EU as it is meant to with any new legislation on information society.
EU member states and the European Parliament have struck a deal on the new money laundering regulations, which will require company owners to be listed on national registers that will be accessible by journalists or anyone else with a “legitimate interest.”
EU member states and the European Parliament last night reached an agreement on draft terms to introduce caps on the fees for debit and credit card transactions in Europe. The maximum charges will be 0.2% and 0.3% respectively.
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