18 August 2015

Schäuble calls on his party to back the third Greek bailout in stark U-turn

In an interview with ZDF, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said he believed the bailout is the “right decision” and called for other members of his CDU/CSU party to back it just weeks after he said Greece should leave the Eurozone. He added “more progress” has been made in recent weeks than many “would have thought possible”. He also said he was “very sure” the IMF would take part in the bailout, saying its role is “indispensable”. Michael Fuchs, Vice Chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, told Bloomberg TV that “there could be more” MPs voting against or abstaining than the 65 in the previous vote in July.

In an interview with Yle Finns Party leader, and Finnish Foreign Minister, Timo Soini defended his party’s decision to back the bailout saying he did it “reluctantly” as the alternative was a break-up of the Finnish government and new elections. However, he said he still believes the bailout is a “bad policy” and that the problems in Greece will remain for “decades”. Spanish Finance Minister Luis de Guindos writes in El País, “This has to be the last bailout, because Eurozone countries must eventually finance themselves on their own.”

Meanwhile, Kathimerini reports that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is considering postponing a confidence vote and potential snap elections to avoid delaying implementation of the bailout. The paper cites unnamed officials suggesting he could wait until October or November – after the first review has been completed and debt relief discussed. The Greek privatisation fund has said that the sale of Piraeus Port and 14 regional airports as well as a number of other projects are now being fast-tracked in order to comply with the bailout.

Source: Open Europe blog Kathimerini Reuters Bloomberg YLE El País: Guindos ZDF Bild Süddeutsche Zeitung

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Cameron to embark on another EU tour ahead of party conference

The Times reports that David Cameron is to embark on another tour of European capitals next month as he seeks backing for Britain’s EU renegotiation before the Conservative party’s annual conference. Senior MPs have demanded an update at the party’s conference in early October.

Meanwhile, Open Europe Co-Director Stephen Booth appeared on LBC Radio and said that those arguing for EU withdrawal as a means of reducing immigration need to answer questions over what impact this could have on the UK’s access to the single market, since both Norway and Switzerland have to accept the EU’s free movement rules in order to access it.

Source: The Times

Corbyn could call special Labour party conference to consider what EU stance to adopt following Cameron's renegotiation

In an interview with Reuters, Labour leadership frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn said that he wants “social solidarity across Europe. I’m for a sort of social, environmental, solidarity agenda rather than a market agenda.” He added that if elected as leader, following the conclusion of Prime Minister David Cameron’s renegotiation, “We would have to have a discussion in the Labour party on this, maybe a special conference. There are many views on Europe in the Labour Party and I wouldn’t want to suppress any of those views.”

Source: Reuters Open Europe blog

Handelsblatt: Germany to expect a record high of 750,000 refugees this year

The German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees is due to “drastically” revise its estimate for the number of asylum seekers arriving in Germany this year up from 450,000 to 750,000 reports Handelsblatt, citing government officials. The estimate has been climbing steadily from the start of the year, when 250,000 refugees were originally anticipated. Separately, research by Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reveals that refugees arriving in Italy are often able to make it to Germany via Austria without any checks. The paper reports that 900 refugees arrive in Germany daily by the ‘Mediterranean Route’, whilst only 300 arrive daily by the ‘Balkan Route’ via Hungary. Meanwhile, António Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has said it is “not sustainable in the long-term if only two EU countries – Germany and Sweden – accommodate the majority of the refugees.”

Source: Handelsblatt Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Die Welt

Six parties could make it into the next Polish parliament setting stage for complicated coalition talks

A new IBRiS poll for Rzeczpospolita finds that six parties could win parliamentary seats in October’s elections. The main opposition party Law and Justice leads on 36% followed by the governing Civic Platform party on 24%, the new United Left grouping on 8%, and the anti-establishment Kukiz movement, the Polish People’s Party and new liberal party NowoczesnaPL all on 6%.

Source: Rzeczpospolita

Commission to propose easier capital rules for securitisations

Financial Services Commissioner Jonathan Hill is next month expected to propose lowering the level of capital which banks have to hold against bundled loans (securitisations) by around 25%. The move will only apply to securitisations which are simple and transparent to investors.

Source: The Financial Times

Minsk accord at risk of unravelling amid renewed fighting in eastern Ukraine

Bloomberg reports that fighting in eastern Ukraine has intensified in recent days and threatens to reach levels not seen since the signing of the Minsk agreement in February. Both sides have blamed each other for the violence which has seen at least nine civilians killed and 21 wounded since Saturday, while two Ukrainian servicemen were killed and seven wounded in the past 24 hours.  Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin paid a visit to Crimea yesterday, prompting Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to accuse him of deliberately escalating the situation.

Source: Bloomberg Reuters EU Observer