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Guardian: European Commission preparing to reject Cameron’s free movement reforms; Merkel expected to discuss EU reform on London visit

06 Jan 2015

Guardian: European Commission preparing to reject Cameron’s free movement reforms;
Merkel expected to discuss EU reform on London visit
The Guardian suggests that the European Commission will warn David Cameron that his proposed changes to EU migration rules, designed to create an expectation that an EU citizen would not come to the UK without a job offer, are unworkable because they would violate the EU’s free movement principle and it would be impossible to distinguish between EU jobseekers and tourists entering the UK.

Meanwhile, the FT reports that while German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to London tomorrow is primarily focused on her chairmanship of the G7 this year – with talks expected on Ukraine and the world economy – David Cameron’s spokesman said, “I’m sure EU reform as an issue will also be discussed.”
Open Europe Research Guardian FT

European leaders weigh into Greek election campaign as fears of Grexit rise
Horst Seehofer, leader of the CSU – the Bavarian sister party of Angela Merkel’s CDU – has warned that Germany “should not behave as a schoolmaster in the Greek election campaign.” Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann has called speculation about Greece’s euro exit “unnecessary meddling”, while German government spokesman Steffen Seibert clarified that “we respect the sovereign decision of Greek voters and now will wait and see.”

Spanish Europe Minister Íñigo Méndez de Vigo told Onda Cero yesterday that Greece’s euro exit “would be enormously harmful for the Greeks”, but would not pose “a systemic risk” to the Eurozone. French President François Hollande said yesterday, “As regards Eurozone membership, it’s only for Greece to decide”, but added that the next Greek government should “respect the commitments” made by its predecessors. 

Meanwhile, FAZ reports that another Greek debt haircut would cost Germany up to €40bn and Reuters notes that German banks have exposure of around €23.5bn to Greece. John Milios, the chief economist of Greece’s left-wing opposition party SYRIZA, told Spiegel Online that his party is “ready to negotiate, but there is no alternative apart from some of Greek debt haircut.” He added that he is sure “the Germans can support this solution”, given the amount of German debt written off after World War II.

Open Europe’s Vincenzo Scarpetta appeared on Al-Jazeera English yesterday, discussing the situation in Greece and the upcoming Greek elections.
Al-Jazeera English Spiegel Tiroler Tageszeitung FAZ FAZ 2 Welt Expansión Le Monde FT City AM WSJ Kathimerini Reuters Times: Conway Welt Welt: Gersemann FAZ 3 FAZ 4

French President François Hollande said yesterday, “It’s not necessarily a good thing for Europe if Russia is in a crisis…I think [EU] sanctions must stop now. They must be lifted if there’s progress. If there’s no progress, they will stay.”
Le Monde EUObserver

Launching his party’s election campaign yesterday, Labour leader Ed Miliband said, “We must demand reform from Europe – an EU that works better for Britain. But make no mistake: exit from the EU would be a dramatic mistake for our country and our economy.”
FT Miliband speech

Poll: 29% of Germans think ‘anti-Islamification’ marches can be justified
A record 18,000 strong crowd attended the latest ‘anti-Islamification’ Pegida march in Dresden last night, although the protestors were outnumbered by counter-protests in many other cities across Germany. A recent Forsa poll for Stern found that 67% of Germans believe that the threat of Islamification is overblown, compared to 29% who viewed the marches as justified because of the degree of influence they felt Islam was having on German life. Separately, French President François Hollande yesterday urged the French not to be “devoured by fear” of the country’s large Muslim community.
EUObserver Telegraph Irish Times Times Times 2 Sun Reuters Deutschland Stern

Chris Cummings, the chief executive of TheCityUK, writes in City AM that the City “is ideally placed to propose where [EU] reform is needed”, adding that “Capital Markets Union would give Europe’s SMEs better access to a richer eco-system of debt and equity finance and offer new growth potential.”
City AM: Cummings

According to the German national statistics office DESTATIS, Germany’s annual inflation rate fell to 0.2% in December – the lowest level since October 2009.

Borsen reports that the EU wants to double Norway’s current annual contribution of 15bn Norwegian kroner to the European Economic Area (EEA). “We believe the EU’s demands are unrealistic and unreasonable”, said Norway’s Europe Minister Vidar Helgesen.

Die Welt cites a new study by Ernst & Young which found that 3.8 million jobs were lost in the Eurozone between 2007 and 2014 – with only Germany and Malta managing to reduce their unemployment rates over this period.

EUobserver reports that, in spite of public protests, Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson is planning to formally withdraw the coun­try’s EU membership ap­pli­ca­tion early this year.


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