Week of October 9th

Slow come back for the weekly updates of the EU news – full reviews will b back next weekend.

On the economic front, the Irish debt rating has been downgraded by Fitch, warning of a negative perspective [*,*]. However, the International Monetary Fund is optimistic on the European economy [*,*,*]. The European Central Bank decided Thursday to keep it’s interest rate to 1% for the 17th months in a row[*]; the ECB also refuses to play with the currency exchange rates to get an economic advantage [*]. During the week, the euro continued to rise up to  $1.40 – following a month of growth (more or less regular) – but fell back just above $1.39 on Friday following bad news on the employment in the US. [*]

The European Commission advanced its ideas to set a tax on financial transactions  [*,*]. The Commission plan for innovation in Europe – in the frame of the Europe 2020 strategy – was also presented this week. [*]. Speaking on innovation, the MEPs voted to limit the contribution of Europe to the project ITER[*] [*] ; The satellite positioning system  “Galileo” is also facing delays and cost overrun [*].

After the USA and Great Britain did warn their citizens against risks of terrorist attack in Europe, the interior ministers are focusing on the problem, particularly in Germany and France [*].

In France, the government is again embarrassed by an episode regarding the politic against the Roma minority: it seems that the gendarmerie (one of the police forces) has been using an illegal and undeclared data base for several years [*,*,*]. This information has been released as President Sarkozy is visiting the Vatican where the Pope did criticize the French politic against Romas during the summer. No comments have been heard from the Commission yet.

Germany celebrated the 20 years of the reunification – unfortunately, this opportunity has not been highly used (at least in France) as it could have been as a European celebration.

The European MP were seating in a mini plenary session in Brussels [*]. J. Delors, former President of the Commission, uses this occasion to state that Europe need a soul [*].

The very first European Citizen Initiative, introduced by the Lisbon treaty, just reached one million of signatures, the number needed to present it to the commission. Lead by Greeenpeace, this ECI ask the commission to consider the question of GMOs [*].

Finally, Hungary and the neighboring states are facing a spill of red sludge, toxic product containing lead among other chemicals, that spilled from an industrial plant. This sludge reached the Danube where it risk to make serious environmental damages. The European Union will help the cleaning. [*,*,*,*]

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