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Independent: Merkel and Juncker consider allowing ban on export of child benefits

22 Dec 2014

Independent: Merkel and Juncker consider allowing ban on export of child benefits
The Independent reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker are considering allowing EU member states to deny child benefits to EU nationals whose children live in another EU country – one of the key demands set out by Prime Minister David Cameron in his recent immigration speech – and that such a proposal could be tabled ahead of May’s general election. The paper cites Open Europe’s recent report on free movement which found that an EU migrant with two dependant children earning the UK minimum wage has an average weekly take-home income of £527.03, including £34.05 in child benefit and £116.38 in child tax credit.
Open Europe research: Saving free movement

New poll finds 51% of UK voters would back EU exit

The Sunday Times cites a WIN/Gallup International poll on attitudes towards the EU in 13 member states, which finds that 51% of UK voters would back exit and 49% staying in. The poll found significant opposition to membership in a number of other member states including the Netherlands – 58% in and 42% out – Greece – 53% in and 34% out – France – 53% in and 29% out – and Germany – 73% in and 27% out. The poll also found that a majority of Greeks would vote to return to the drachma, 42% of Germans would prefer to return to the deutschmark and a third of French people want a return of the franc.
Sunday Times

reports that Austrian chancellor Werner Faymann on Saturday criticised those states seeking tougher sanctions against Moscow. “I cannot approve of the euphoria over the success of sanctions against Russia...I do not know why we should be pleased if the Russian economy collapses,” he said.

Sveriges Radio reports that secret negotiations are taking place between the Swedish government and some opposition parties in a bid to form a minority government. The talks could lead to the snap elections, expected in March but yet to be formally announced by the current government, being called off. According to Swedish constitutional rules, the government is unable to call a new election until 29 December.
Sveriges Radio
 Local. se

Greek Prime Minister offers general election before end of 2015 to head off presidential impasse

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras yesterday offered MPs a series of compromises in an attempt to resolve the impasse over the election of Greece’s next president and avoid snap general elections early next year. He offered to hold general elections by the end of 2015 – before the term of the current government expires – and reshuffle his cabinet to include ministers that would be appointed by other political parties. Samaras’ move came as details emerged on Friday of an alleged attempt to bribe an opposition MP to support the government’s presidential candidate.

Pedro Sánchez, the leader of Spain’s opposition Socialists, which currently lead in opinion polls, has told the FT that German Chancellor Angela Merkel should “understand that we need fiscal stimulus to improve the capacity to consume and grow in southern European countries.”

reported that European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker complained directly to German Chancellor Angela Merkel over German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt’s proposals for a road levy on foreign drivers, arguing that the plans were discriminatory and that Germany could face EU infringement procedure.

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