March no 1. Europe Bulletin

White Paper brings back bad memories for Cameron
David Cameron has probably had enough of politics. But if the former prime minister of the UK bothered to tune into Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s speech on the future of the European Union, he might have suffered a flicker of déjà vu. Cast your minds back to Cameron’s attempt to negotiate EU reforms, ahead of the UK’s referendum on its membership of the bloc. You know, the vote which cost Cameron his job and seems to dominate all of our lives everyday. In his deal, Cameron secured a British exemption from “ever closer union” with Brussels. The vision of multi-speed Europe has its antecedents in Britain. But the country won’t be able to profit from the reforms that Brexit has driven.

Juncker’s real scenario’ is multi-speed Europe
Of all five scenarios proposed by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker for the way forward after Brexit, the real scenario is Number 3: “Those who want more do more,” which is another way of saying that the EU will be multi-speed, EURACTIV was told.

European Parliament adopts draft reform of carbon market

The European Parliament on Wednesday (15 February) adopted draft reforms of the EU’s carbon market post-2020 that aim to balance greater cuts in greenhouse gases with protection for energy-intensive industries.

Brexit will spur Irish efforts to connect to EU energy market

Brexit will spur Irish efforts to diversify its energy supplies, which are dominated by UK imports, and connect its energy market to continental Europe, Ireland’s energy minister said yesterday (27 February).

“All of our electricity and gas interconnections are with Britain […] it would be irresponsible of us not to explore all other options,” Denis Naughten told reporters after a meeting of EU  energy ministers in Brussels on Monday.

European airlines implore Commission to draft strong law against Gulf rivals

French and German flag carriers Air France-KLM and Lufthansa have urged the European Commission to counter what they say are unfair practices by Gulf airlines, in a bid to influence the drafting of a new EU law. The Commission is working on a law enabling it to impose duties on non-EU airlines or suspend their flying rights if it finds they have harmed European airlines through unfair subsidies or discriminatory practices, a draft seen by Reuters showed.

With several months delay, EU member states are expected to give the European Commission the green light next Tuesday (7 June) to start negotiations with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar on comprehensive aviation agreements that will also cover alleged subsidies given to their airlines.

East-West tensions reignite as Poland fights labour rules for truckers

Poland is putting up a fight over an upcoming EU proposal that will affect working conditions for truck drivers who travel between countries with different social welfare laws and minimum wages. Under current EU cabotage rules, drivers can spend up to seven days in another member state and still be subject to national laws in their home country. But a group of western EU countries have argued that has led to bad working conditions and wages for truck drivers as well as distorted competition from low-paying haulage companies based in the EU’s eastern member states.

Truck drivers and trade unions have formed an alliance to demand the European Commission close loopholes that let underpaid workers from poorer EU countries deliver goods anywhere in the bloc. Nine western European countries have called for the introduction of fairer social rules to govern road transport before the sector is opened up to greater liberalisation. This is meant as a warning to Brussels, which is preparing a new set of rules for May.

Malta and Greece have pledged to work more closely even in a “coalition of the willing” to seek more social Europe. EURACTIV Greece reports. Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat met yesterday (1 March) in Athens with his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras and held discussions ahead of the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaty.

The Greek government has invited the leaders of five southern EU countries, including France, Italy and Spain, to Athens in a bid to forge an anti-austerity alliance.

 

The European Union will not pick an immediate fight with the City of London over its right to clear euro-denominated securities, EU officials said on Monday (27 February), as Britain prepares to trigger the process of quitting the bloc.

Britain’s vote to leave the EU has sparked questions over its role as Europe’s financial capital, with cities like Frankfurt, home of the European Central Bank, and Dublin also hoping to cash in on any move out of London by financial companies.

The issue of whether euro clearing houses can remain in the British capital is set to be one of the most contentious issues as Britain seeks to negotiate its future trade relationship with the EU after its departure.

French President François Hollande warned that Britain’s City of London financial district would have to give up its role in processing euro currency transactions after it leaves the European Union.

Britain has jealously guarded its status and won a recent EU court decision against the European Central Bank in order to keep hosting the euro deals.

EU leaders told to be ready for 6-7 April Brexit summit

EU leaders have pencilled in a Brexit summit for the first week of April, sources said yesterday (1 March), although the final date will depend on British Prime Minister Theresa May.

A summit of the other 27 national leaders to respond to May’s formal notification of the United Kingdom’s departure appears in an internal EU calendar seen by Reuters on Thursday, 6 April, as is currently “to be confirmed”.

An EU source said European Council President Donald Tusk had asked last month that EU leaders keep that and the following day free for a summit which will set out guidelines for EU negotiators, based on what deal May asks for.

 

For more information visit the euractiv website at www.euractiv.com