27 August 2015

Significant increase in EU migration to the UK as net migration hits a new record high

According to the latest ONS statistics published today, net long-term migration to the UK was estimated to be 330,000 in the year ending March 2015, a new record high and a significant increase from the 236,000 recorded over the previous twelve months. Net migration from EU member states over this period stood at 183,000 (up 53,000) while net migration from non-EU countries stood at 196,000 (up 39,000). In total, there were 269,000 migrants from the EU – the highest recorded level for this group – and 284,000 migrants from non-EU countries. 162,000 EU migrants came for work, of which 61% had a definite job to go to, compared to 31% who arrived as jobseekers.

Meanwhile, the Financial Times reports that The Institute of Directors, together with the British Future think tank, have called on the government to formulate a coherent “long-term plan” for managing migration, with the IoD’s Director General Simon Walker describing the government’s target to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands as “bizarre and unachievable”.

Source: ONS figures The Financial Times The Daily Telegraph

Tsipras says he will not lead a coalition with the establishment parties

In an interview with Alpha TV yesterday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that he will not lead a coalition government that includes any of the establishment parties after the elections, naming New Democracy, PASOK and To Potami. He also insisted that Greece has “fiscal space” to pay debt and that “an elongation of maturities and a lowering of the interest rates” will be the first step to getting Greece back on the markets.

He praised current Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos saying the two sides “wouldn’t have achieved a deal” if it wasn’t for him, and hit out at former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis saying that it had reached the point where other leaders “switched off” when he was talking and that he had “lost his credibility”. The Times reports that SYRIZA will not allow Varoufakis to be on the party’s candidate list in the new elections, although he had already distanced himself from the possibility. Meanwhile, 53 members of SYRIZA’s central committee resigned yesterday, with some of them moving to the new Popular Unity splinter party.

Separately, Popular Unity has this morning handed back the mandate to form a government. Reuters reports that Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos is expected to officially announce the date of the new elections tomorrow.

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Dutch coalition at odds over how to tackle refugee crisis

EUObserver reports that Dutch coalition parties are split over how to tackle Europe’s on-going refugee crisis. The centre-left PvdA wants to scrap the EU’s Dublin Regulation – which establishes that asylum claims must be processed by the member state of first entry. However, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s VVD wants to keep the rules in place.

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Spanish recovery still largely driven by domestic demand, new data show

New data published by the Spanish national statistics office INE this morning show that the country’s economic recovery continues to be largely driven by domestic demand, with household consumption increasing by 1% in the second quarter of the year compared to the previous quarter.

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Lega Nord leader: Ready to re-hash alliance with Berlusconi if he breaks ties with Merkel

Matteo Salvini, the leader of Italy’s anti-euro Lega Nord, told Italian magazine Panorama that he is open to re-hashing the old alliance with Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party, but added, “It is clear that Forza Italia will have to reflect about its position in Brussels…I can’t make a deal with someone who de facto supports [German Chancellor] Angela Merkel in Brussels.” Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and Merkel’s CDU/CSU are currently members of the same pan-European ‘political family’ – the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP).

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Dutch campaign for non-binding referendum on EU Association Agreement with Ukraine clears first hurdle

A Dutch campaign to hold a non-binding referendum on the EU’s Association Agreement with Ukraine has managed to clear a first hurdle by gathering 10,000 signatures – the first time this has happened since a new Dutch law enabling popular initiatives came into effect on 1 July. The campaign now needs to collect 300,000 signatures in six weeks to trigger the referendum. If Dutch voters were then to vote against the Association Agreement, the Dutch parliament would need to vote again on it – despite having already approved it.

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Fears of ‘brain drain’ in Ireland despite unemployment falling 17%

Unemployment dropped in Ireland by 17% in the past twelve months. However, the Irish Independent reports that the number of graduates emigrating is at its highest level since 2010 – sparking fears of ‘brain drain’.

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Lending to the private sector picking up in the Eurozone

Data released by the ECB this morning show that loans to Eurozone households grew by 1.9% in July, up from 1.7% in June, while loans to non-financial corporations increased by 0.9%, up from 0.2% in June.

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Fourteen EU officials signed up to adultery website with their work e-mail addresses

EurActiv has revealed that fourteen EU officials – thirteen men and one woman – used their workplace e-mail addresses to sign up to adultery website Ashley Madison. The site was recently hacked and the personal data of millions of users were made public. According to EurActiv, eight officials work at the European Commission, three at the European Parliament, and one each at the EU’s diplomatic service EEAS, financial markets watchdog ESMA and rapid reaction force EUFOR.

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