Early Weekly Round-upPosted: September 10, 2010
(Due to my schedule, I won’t be able to take care of the weekly EU news summary this weekend, but I give you the service minimum with an early update on Friday)
On the economic field, the Wall Street Journal analyzed the data from the bank stress tests (released in late July) and concluded that the risk exposure of the European banks have been underestimated [*,*,*]; that sent the euro slipping down below $1.27 [*]. At the same time, Ireland faces some bank and financial difficulties [*], and the momentum to improve budgetary discipline in the eurozone is falling [*].
In Greece, PM Papandreou reshuffled his cabinet at the beginning of the week, while still struggling to implement reforms[*]. Good news: Greece’s deficit has been reduced by 32% over the last 8 months [*]
In France, the VAT on the internet-phone-TV triple play packages is going to increase. Until now, the operator were using a twisted calculation method to apply the two different VAT rates, 5.5% and 19.6%, that apply to TV and phone respectively, split 50/50 so far. The European commission, arguing that TV represents less than 50% of the offer asked for a correction. Jumping on the opportunity to get more cash from VAT, while blaming the EU, the government decided for a full 19.6% package. The price increase for the users is expected to be around 2 or 3 €. [*,*]
The big point of the week was, of course, the Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg:
- Tuesday morning, J.M Barroso gave a State of the Union speech [*,*] which has been widely commented among Eurobloggers (see on Bloggingportal.eu) and on this blog here and there (et ici en Francais)
- MEPs voted to limit experiments on animals[*]
- They strongly condemned the stoning or Iranian Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani[*] – The sentence execution was later suspended [*]
- The anti counterfeit agreement ACTA was debated with Commissioner De Gucht, calling for full transparency [*]
- Finally, the position of the French government over the Roma[*]. MEPs voted a resolution calling France to stop systematic expulsion of Roma and to change its discourse of general accusation of Roma[*] (the text of the resolution is a little technical, but very precise to understand what is the position of the Parliament). The French immigration minister and secretary of state to the European affairs refuse to change the policy toward Roma and claim the European Parliament is using the issue as a political operation.[*,*] Paris threaten to vetos the accession of Romania in the Schengen zone[*] – expect my full comments on this issue after the weekend.
More comments on the news to come after the weekend… I may give a lite version, but I’m not on strike – even if I’m French.