Five transformative years for Europe

Posted by Michael Berendt on 26/07/12

At last the sun is shining, after months of rain. London gears up for the Olympics and is thronged with visitors. Brussels is quiet, Paris is empty. The roads to the south are crowded. The mountains and the beaches beckon. It must be the summer holidays. But not for those politicians and officials across Europe [...]

Banking Union: magic solution to eurozone crisis?

Posted by Michael Berendt on 10/07/12
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It seems that a European Banking Union has become the magic solution to the eurozone debt crisis. This week’s meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Brussels confirmed that European funds will provide direct support to Spanish banks, to the tune of €100bn in loans from the European Financial Stability Facility and subsequently the European Stability [...]

Rio +20 boost for EU fisheries policy reform?

Posted by Michael Berendt on 24/06/12

The word “sustainability” can cover a multitude of interpretations, but when it comes to fisheries policy there is no ambiguity:  today’s overfishing means tomorrow’s collapsing fish stocks. Until recently the Common Fisheries Policy has been a classic case of unsustainability, a stand-off between short term political pressures on the one hand and scientific evidence warning [...]

Eurozone crisis challenges UK role in Europe

Posted by Michael Berendt on 10/06/12

Britain is buzzing with talk of a referendum on “Europe”. See the Nucleus blog.  In May Peter Mandelson was advocating a national vote some time after 2016, when a new Europe of fiscal union will have been defined. He sees it as a way of resolving divisions within Britain’s political parties. Last week it was [...]

EU resists pressure on airline emission scheme

Posted by Michael Berendt on 27/05/12

There is no doubt that European standards for commerce and industry have had a profound influence across the world. Europe’s standards have become global standards, if only because anyone wishing to sell their goods on European markets must respect them. Emission limits for motor vehicles, for instance, is one sector where EU legislation has had [...]

Guess who’s coming to dinner!

Posted by Michael Berendt on 09/05/12
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European Council president Herman van Rompuy has arranged a summit dinner for EU leaders on May 23. For François Hollande the Brussels feast will be a first opportunity to brief all his colleagues on France’s new approach to the eurozone crisis and how he sees a return to growth in Europe. His message will be [...]

Budget chickens come home to roost

Posted by Michael Berendt on 26/04/12

The European Commission is struggling to justify an increase of nearly 7 per cent in the EU payments budget for 2013.  The timing could hardly be worse, with national budgets feeling the full force of austerity, governments facing fierce opposition to spending cuts at home, and the Dutch being forced into new elections as coalition [...]

Economic growth is the theme for spring

Posted by Michael Berendt on 13/04/12

Spring is the season of growth, and economic growth in Europe has become the dominant theme of the moment. It is certainly a central theme of the French presidential elections. In a few days time the European Commission plans to launch its economic growth plan for Europe, setting out the measures it believes that member [...]

Good news for the ozone layer, but what lessons for climate change?

Posted by Michael Berendt on 23/03/12
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A few days ago the death was announced of F. Sherwood Rowland, the American scientist who identified the damage being caused by chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) to the earth’s protective ozone layer. His pioneering scientific work and the fierce campaigning by him and his collaborators led to a UN framework agreement to tackle the problem and to [...]

New deal on finance tax may bring calm

Posted by Michael Berendt on 14/03/12

A compromise may be in sight to defuse the conflict over a proposed EU turnover tax for all financial transactions. It seems that finance ministers are looking at stamp duty on share deals as an alternative way of taxing the financial sector, perhaps marking a calmer phase in the evolution of European financial services legislation. [...]

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Blogging commentary on current events from the perspective of someone who has been closely involved with the policies, the policy-makers and the whole complex network of people who make the process of European integration so exciting and absorbing. more.