Week of June 19thPosted: June 20, 2010
Here is a summary of the European news last week :
Last weekend Belgians voted in early legislative elections. The parties advocating a greater separation between Flemish and French speaking areas won in influence on votes [*,*] – I leave the analysis to the specialists, in the extent that parties are regional, which make things a little more Belgians complicated. If institutional reforms are to be expected in Belgium, it is too early to speak of an explosion of the country ; which didn’t stopped some French MPs to propose to Walloon region and Brussels to join France [*] – A stupid and insulting proposal I believe. Belgium is again trying to form a government, which will probably ally Flemish parties and Walloon socialists [*] ; this when Belgium is getting ready to take the Union presidency on July 1st [*].
Let’s move on now to the big piece of news, as usual, it’s the economy stupid:
The all Europe is getting ready for a round of austerity [*,*]. In Greece, the national debt rating has been downgraded by Moody’s[*,*], while experts form the EU and IMF are going to Athens to audit Greek finances [*], China is showing that it’s not afraid of investing in Greece [*] and PM Papandreou show is willingness to solve this crisis [*].
Spain raises concern too in regard to its finances and the capacity of its banks to access cash [*] ; Spain government and IMF state there is no reason to panic [*,*,*]. That didn’t prevent rumors suggesting that Spain was negotiating a rescue plan to spread – which have been denied by PM Zapatero [*,*,*].
While the industrial production in Europe is slightly increasing [*], there are talks on the pro and cons of a strong Euro [*,*]. The future of the Europe seems to be tied to France and Germany who have to agree on the measure to be taken [*,*,*]. Europe is looking for an economic governance, hard to set up [*]. Gathered at the end of the week, the European Council tried to address this issuer [*,*,*] ; the recipe : to reinforce discipline by greater sanctions for the mauvais élèves – There will be no exclusion from the eurozone, but sanctions can be as hard as a deprivation of vote at the council table [*,*,*,*]. The Council also wants to publish during the summer the results of the back stress test: which indicate the abilities of banks to resist to extreme economic situations (crisis, …) This transparency operation should reinforce the trust in European banks. [*,*,*,*,*,*]
The European council, was meeting in summit on June 17 in Brussels [*]. In addition to the economic situation, the European leaders talked about the strategy Europe 2020, prepared the g20 summit next week, congratulated Estonia on its upcoming adoption of the euro,opened the membership negotiations with Iceland [*,*] – negotiations that could be tricky[*,*] and adopted a declaration on Iran and its nuclear program, and approved new sanctions [*,*,*]
The European Parliament was seating in plenary session at the beginning of the week [*] ; MEPs did express their will to take part actively in the economic politics of the Union [*,*]. The important point of the session regarded food labeling [*]: the geographic origin of a product will have to be indicated, and also the percentage of fat, salt, sugars, … [*,*]; a color code has been rejected as it would have stigmatize some products [*].
In the rest of the Europe news : Greece and the Republic of Macedonia are getting closer to solve their dispute over the use of the name Macedonia [*], Polish vote on June 20th for early presidential elections, France and England remember on June 18th the call to resistance by the General De Gaulle in 1940, and the football worldcup is underway in South Africa with good results for some European team : Germany, Netherlands, Slovenia.