EM Germany Weekly Round-Up | week ending 16/01/2015
EM Germany’s weekly round-up summarises the past week’s key European issues in a brief press review, which also includes a look at EM Germany’s activities and topics trending globally on Twitter. German version here.
The week’s highlights in print, at EM Germany and on Twitter
10/01-16/01/2015 – Since the attacks in Paris the EU has devoted itself to combatting terrorism. On Sunday, EU interior ministers agreed a joint security package in Paris, to step up measures in the fight against terrorism (Euractiv, Tagesschau, Die Welt). The package will improve the exchange of information regarding jihadists’ movements. A deal to exchange information on air passengers between EU countries, which the European Parliament rejects at present, should also be implemented, writes the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Interior ministers also decided to counteract the increasing radicalisation of young Muslims online, and the dissemination of illegal weapons, through cooperation between intelligence agencies. Interior ministers are also striving for better cooperation with destination and transit countries. In the coming months, the European Commission wants to gather more proposals to revise the EU’s security strategy further.
On Saturday, Die Welt and Die Zeit newspapers reported on the European Commission debate about waiving Greece’s debt. According to the papers, there is an increasing willingness to do so, however some member states have yet to agree to it. In return for the debt forgiveness Greece would have to be prepared for further reforms, writes Die Welt. On Thursday, Die Zeit wrote that Greece’s left-wing coalition SYRIZA is not insistent on the debt cut. The European Central Bank (ECB) is said to have rejected any involvement in the possible debt cut, reports Die Welt.
The ECB’s planned purchase of government bonds was fiercely debated this week. The ECB wants to use this measure to act against the EU’s low inflation rate, thereby stimulating the Eurozone’s economy. ECB chief Mario Draghi’s plans are considered highly controversial (Der Spiegel, Die Welt). The German Central Bank harbours legal objections against the proposal, because it comes very close to government financing, which is not permitted (Frankfurter Rundschau). According to a report published by the European Advocate-General at the European Court of Justice on Wednesday, purchasing government bonds does not fundamentally contravene EU law (Süddeutsche Zeitung).
At the start of the week newspapers were busy with the summit for the heads of state and government of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany, which was supposed to take place in Kazakhstan on 15 January in view of the Ukraine crisis. The meeting was cancelled due to a lack of consensus over a ceasefire and establishing a demarcation line in Eastern Ukraine (Süddeutsche Zeitung). Instead, respective foreign ministers came together to talk about a possible conflict resolution (Die Zeit). In addition, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on Thursday that Vladimir Putin will not be invited to the G7 summit in June. The reason for this, according to Handelsblatt, is said to be Russia’s violation of common values.
The German press again commented on the transatlantic trade agreement (TTIP) this week. Following a consultation carried out on behalf of the European Commission, it has emerged that the planned investor protection within TTIP is drawing heavy criticism from EU citizens (Die Zeit). Popular resistance to the plans is directed at the lack of transparency in arbitral proceedings. Moreover, there is a fear that companies could influence policy through claims for damages (Euractiv). Skepticism towards the investor protection also prevails in the European Parliament (Euractiv). The European Commission will not include the clause in negotiations for the time being, nevertheless the controversial provisions will not be cut from the trade agreement. EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström is planning consultations with interest groups before undertaking further steps (Die Zeit). Euractiv announced on Friday that Germany and France want to act jointly against the controversial investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) process.
European Movement International (EMI), EM Germany’s international parent organisation, is supporting European development aid with its “Members‘ Blog“. The blog is dedicated to the central themes of this year’s European Year for Development.
The hashtag #JeSuisCharlie once again ruled international debates on Twitter this week – however, it was also used to mock individual heads of state and government appearing at the central commemoration march and coverage thereof. And finally, in order to familiarise oneself with the hashtags that will characterise 2015’s political agenda: the Latvian EU Council Presidency is accompanied by the hashtag #EU2015LV, the European Year for Development by #EYD2015, and the German G7 Presidency by the hashtag #G7.