Missing Madeleine
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Post  Panda on Wed 22 Dec - 7:39

This report makes it even more undemocratic that we were not given a Referendum.

Fortnightly Open Europe bulletin: 21 December 2010

· The UK remains exposed to the troubled eurozone in 2011 and beyond

· News in brief

· Open Europe in the news

· Please support Open Europe

Quote of the year:

“We have a Treaty under which there is no possibility of paying to bailout states in difficulty”.

- German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, 1 March 2010

1. The UK remains exposed to the troubled eurozone in 2011 and beyond

At a Brussels summit last week, EU leaders agreed to create a permanent bailout fund for the eurozone by changing the EU treaties, which will come into force in 2013. French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde admitted that a treaty change was required because, “We violated all the rules”. She added, “The Treaty of Lisbon was very straightforward. No bailing out,” conceding that the Greek and Irish bailouts were “major transgressions” of the Treaty. (WSJ, 20 December)

David Cameron has managed to secure a ‘political commitment’ that, once a new bailout fund is established in 2013, the EU treaties will not again be used to force non-eurozone members to contribute to future bailouts. (Telegraph, 17 December)

But, in what continues to be a fast-moving crisis, it remains unclear what will happen before 2013. Eurozone governments need to refinance or repay more debt in 2011 than at any time since the launch of the euro, and eurozone banks may also struggle to meet their refinancing needs. There are particular worries for Portugal, Spain, Italy, and even Belgium, which will be tested in the early months of next year. (FT, 12 December)

Against this backdrop, Cameron has said that, although he does not believe the UK should share liability for any future eurozone bailouts up to 2013, “In the current emergency arrangements…we do.” (Hansard, 20 December)

And, given the interconnectedness of Europe’s banks and financial system, without a fundamental solution, the eurozone’s problems will remain Britain’s problems, even after 2013. The Government must therefore take an active role in finding a long-term answer to the crisis. Cameron should push the eurozone to explore the possibility of a complete restructuring, including changes to its membership. The fact is that Greece, Portugal and others will never be able to compete with Germany inside a currency union. (Spectator: Persson, 17 December)

To read Open Europe's pre-summit briefing, click here:


To read Open Europe’s post-summit press release, click here:


To leave your comments on our blog, click here:


2. News in brief

New Poll: 48% of Britons would vote in favour of pulling out of the EU. A new Angus Reid poll shows that, in the event of a referendum on the UK's EU membership, 48% of Britons would vote in favour of leaving the EU and 27% would vote to stay in. The results also indicate that 42% of Lib Dem voters and 36% of Labour voters would now vote for the UK to pull out. The poll found that 80% would vote in favour of keeping the pound. (Angus Reid, 6 December)

EU agrees 2.9% budget increase for 2011; Cameron tries to secure freeze on spending post-2014. The EU has agreed a 2.9% increase to the EU budget in 2011, MEPs were forced to accept national governments’ demands for a limited increase rather than the 6% they had proposed. Meanwhile, David Cameron has said that he has secured the support of France and Germany in his bid to cap EU spending after 2014 when a new multi-year budget kicks in. Swedish PM Fredrik Reinfeldt criticised Cameron’s approach describing it as “a bit ambiguous” and arguing that it would do little to reform how EU money is actually spent. (Europaportalen Telegraph, 17 December)

£8.3bn 'pre-accession aid' allocated to countries that may never join the EU. EU pre-accession funds worth £8.3bn have been allocated to Turkey, Albania, Bosnia and other countries, despite the fact that they are unlikely to become members of the EU. Of this, the UK contributes £1.1bn. £100m of money paid out between 2000-2006 has been deemed 'irregular', including suspected fraud cases. (Sunday Times, 12 December)

Lib Dems avoided Lisbon Treaty referendum because they thought it “would fail”. A United States diplomatic cable leaked by Wikileaks shows that “senior” Lib Dems “confessed” to US officials that they abstained on the vote to hold a referendum on Lisbon because the party leadership believed “a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty would fail.” (Open Europe blog Guardian, 15 December)

3. Open Europe in the news

What Cameron should push for at the EU summit

20 December Euractiv BBC World Service Express.be 17 December BBC World BBC World Service Radio Antena 1 16 December Telegraph Evening Standard CNBC 15 December Telegraph Fokus 9 December BBC: Hewitt 7 December Spectator: Persson

Open Europe’s Mats Persson wrote a post on the Spectator’s Coffee House blog arguing “it’s time for Cameron to play European politics…There’s a power vacuum in Europe just waiting to be filled with new ideas”. Mats was also quoted in the Telegraph, Euractiv, the Evening Standard and Swedish magazine Fokus.

Pieter Cleppe appeared in interviews twice on BBC World Service, on BBC World, Portuguese Radio Antena 1 and on CNBC arguing that "Instead of trying to agree on how much more taxpayers' money they want to put on the table to save the euro, EU leaders should focus on more fundamental solutions to the common currency's problems". Pieter was also quoted by Belgian news site Express.be. On his blog, BBC Europe editor Gavin Hewitt cited Open Europe's daily press summary.

The value for money of the UK's £26 million MEPs

19 December Sunday Telegraph LBC 20 December Express 13 December Telegraph

Siân Herbert was quoted on page two of the Sunday Telegraph saying, “The system of MEPs' expenses is an absolute minefield, raising serious questions about transparency and accountability". Siân was also quoted in the Telegraph and the Express. Stephen Booth appeared on LBC radio.

Cameron announces EU budget freeze pact

18 December Independent 17 December BBC

Mats Persson was quoted in the Independent and by the BBC saying, “A cash freeze on the EU's long-term budget without reforming its actual substance could well prove a strategic mistake. Such a deal would serve to antagonise the new member states that stand to lose the most and represent a missed opportunity to re-negotiate the EU's flawed subsidy schemes, at a time when the UK has some leverage.”

European Parliament political groups organise study trips at expense of European taxpayers

16 December DR

Pieter Cleppe was interviewed on Danish TV, DR, saying, "They should take the same decisions as many ordinary people all over Europe who are struggling with the crisis, which is to cut the budget".

Doubts over effectiveness of Citizens’ Initiative

16 December Rzeczpospolita

Polish daily Rzeczpospolita quoted Pieter Cleppe noting that the Commission previously ignored a petition for scrapping the two seats of the European Parliament, with more than one million signatures.

AIFM Directive could endanger the City

14 December Parliament

Pieter Cleppe was quoted by The Parliament saying, "With the agreement on the AIFM directive and on financial supervision, the Belgian presidency has successfully concluded EU attempts to transfer more powers to the EU. These reforms might, however, endanger the City of London as a place to secure investment in innovation and economic growth in both the UK and Europe."

EU’s overseas ambassadors enjoy generous salaries and perks

12 December Sunday Times 13 December Express 11 December Telegraph 10 December BBC World Service 7 December Il Fatto Quotidiano 6 December Express 5 December Sunday Times

Mats Persson was quoted in the Sunday Times saying, "The EEAS is quickly turning into a bureaucratic giant -- but remains a diplomatic midget. Common EU embassies only make sense if countries can boost their clout and save money by pooling resources, but at present they only add confusion while drawing vital funds away from national foreign ministries."

Mats was also quoted in an article in the Sunday Times looking at pre-accession benefits. Siân Herbert was quoted in the Telegraph criticising the EU for spending €3m on an anti-poverty development conference. BBC World Service featured Open Europe's briefing of another 50 examples of EU waste. Mats was quoted twice in the Express and by Italian daily Il Fatto Quotidiano.

Human rights laws cost Britain £42bn in rulings and payouts

7 December Mail

Siân Herbert was quoted in the Mail saying: "The ECHR and the European Court of Justice [which rules on EU law] now act as a de facto supreme court in the UK in many ways. While we need to remain a country committed to strong protection of basic liberties and rights, these two bodies lack the democratic and judicial legitimacy to fulfil this duty."

4. Please support Open Europe

Open Europe is a small, lean operation which relies entirely on individual donations. We produce cutting-edge research on all aspects of EU policy, targeting both politicians and the media to campaign for radical reform of the EU. We unearth high-impact stories and hold high-profile events, and, despite being a small team, we are quoted and interviewed several times a week in the media.

We believe there is a better way forward for Europe, and we need your help in trying to make our vision a reality.

If you support our work and would like to help us continue to do it, please click the link below to find out how you can donate. Anything you can give will go directly to helping us counter the spin from EU officials and EU-funded lobby groups, and allow us to make our case for a fresh approach to Europe.


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Post  kitti on Wed 22 Dec - 9:04

I think the 48% off people that would bail out off europe...is a misquote, got to be.

It should read.....98% off british people DIDNT or WOULDNT off wanted to enter europe.

The reason their was no referendum was because off that and i dont think we would be in as half a mess we are in now if their would off been one.

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Post  Panda on Wed 22 Dec - 9:16

Morning Kitti,

No matter what we think of Maggie Thatcher, she fought the EU for Britaion. How the Hell can Britain be asked to help bail out other European
Countries when it has it"s own currency? also, why is the ECB reserving 8.3 Billion Euros to help out the newest applicants to join the EU, like Estonia,
etc.? There will never be a one currency for 27 Countries when they have different Enconomies. We have lost the right to govern our own Country,
Law, Immigration, etc are all EU directives. Looks like Cameron will be a wimp and not stand up for Britain.

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