Week of October 23rdPosted: October 23, 2010
Here is a summary of the EU news this week.
As for last week, let’s start with the economy: This was a week of great instability of the euro which fluctuated between $1.37 and $1.40 (0.5% of spread) [*] – if the euro/dollar exchange value is around he normal value, the amplitude and speed of the variations are not reassuring. The consumer confidence index in the euro zone and in the Union did stay the same between September and October.
The finance ministers agreed last week on the regulation of hedge funds in Europe. The aim of the agreement is to link salaries and bonus for traders to long term performances to minimize risk-taking. The text has now to go before the parliament and should be voted quickly, ideally before the G20 meeting in November [*,*,*].
The Commission proposed this week a European tax in order to avoid debates in the member states on their contribution to the Union that lead to rebated when the states think the fund they give to the EU does not benefit them enough, This tax would take the form, among others, of a specific VAT. There is little chance that this proposal is translated into the real thing in the short term, but the topic is more and more present in the debates [*,*,*,*].
Germany and France suggest, on the side of a summit with Russia, a reform of the stability pact that would lead to quicker sanctions in case of excessive deficit in the euro zone. This reform would come with a treaty revision – quite a challenge after the long and hard adoption of the Lisbon treaty last year [*,*,*,*]. J.-C. Trichet, president of the European Central Bank is not entirely on board with the German-French proposals [*,*].
France responded , last week, to the questions of the Commission regarding its politics towards the Roma minority. The answers has been judged enough and the commission will not follow up against France [*,*,*]. and so it is the end, a discreet end, to a very much publicized episode a few weeks ago.
The European Parliament was seating in plenary session in Strasbourg (despite the French strikes) this week [*]. The Parliament did, in particular, award the Sakharov for Freedom of Thought to the Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas. [*,*,*,*]
MEPs did also voted for an extension of maternity leave up to 20 weeks (minimum). This measure is widely controversial regarding its cost and the difficult to measure effect. [*,*,*,*] The paternity leave is also extended.