EM Germany Weekly Round-Up | week ending 20/02/2015
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
14/02-20/02/2015 – “Half of Brussels’ European quarter has been waiting for a letter from Athens this week” (Spiegel Online). Greece had until Friday to apply to the Eurogroup for an extension to the financial assistance due to run out at the end of February. On Thursday, said letter from Athens arrived at the European Commission in Brussels. No sooner had the extension been requested than it was rejected by the German federal government, among others. According to Martin Jäger (spokesperson for Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble) the request does not offer any concrete problem-solving approach and contradicts the deal negotiated by the Eurogroup on Monday (Association of German Banks). In contrast to the German government, the European Commission appears to see Greece’s request as a positive step towards conciliation (Tagesschau). Nineteen Eurozone finance ministers worked against the clock when they met on Friday afternoon for a third crisis meeting in the space of ten days (Tagesschau). EM Germany waits with bated breath to see whether the finance ministers will agree a solution by the weekend.
The Ukrainian city of Debaltseve took centre stage in the ongoing Ukraine conflict this week, as it is of great strategic significance for both Ukraine and Russia due to the city’s advantageous travel connections. Despite the peace treaty agreed in Minsk, pro-Russian separatists have annexed Debaltseve in recent days, which led to violent clashes with Ukrainian troops (Die Welt). In the end, the Ukrainian army felt compelled to withdraw from Debaltseve due to the separatists’ military capture. Indignant at the separatists’ behavior, the German federal government and the European Union criticised the military superpower for seriously violating the agreed ceasefire (Tagesschau). Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government suggested stationing EU troops in the Donets Basin region, to get closer to the goals of the Minsk peace treaty more quickly. As reported at EM Germany’s debriefing on the informal meeting of the European Council on Monday, heads of state and government dealt with further attempts at peace negotiations last week. Generally speaking, a two-track policy was sought: compliance with the second Minsk treaty and continuous examination of further sanctions against Russia, if a ceasefire is not observed (EM Germany).
EU Finance Commissioner, Jonathan Hill, presented the Green Paper on Building a Capital Markets Union on Wednesday. The Green Paper will start a consultation procedure, which will deal with how better conditions for cross-border capital markets in the EU can be ensured. Furthermore, the Commission wishes to discuss how businesses, as well as states, can receive more financing opportunities and investors can get more scope for investment (Federal Association for Investment and Asset Management – BVI). Tilman Lüder from the Directorate-General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union (DG FISMA) presented the Green Paper on European Capital Markets Union at EM Germany’s Green Paper analysis event on Wednesday.
The EU was once again haunted by terrorism over the weekend. On Saturday and Sunday, there were several shootings in the Danish capital Copenhagen, which resulted in two deaths. After an initially successful escape, the perpetrator with an Islamist background was found by police on Sunday and was killed during a shootout (Tagesschau). At Monday’s debriefing on the informal meeting of the European Council, EM Germany reported on the declaration on counterterrorism approved by heads of state and government at the informal meeting. It comprises three main points: guaranteeing the security of citizens, preventing radicalisation and preserving values, and cooperation with international partners.
On Twitter the hashtags #Eurogroup and #Tsipras offer a look back at the Greece crisis. EM Germany’s debriefing on the informal meeting of the European Council can be found using #EBDdebrief. The latest developments in the Ukraine conflict and the Minsk peace treaty can be found via the hastags #Ukraine and #Minsk. Commentary on the Green Paper analysis of the Capital markets Union can be followed via #EBDanalyse and #EUdebatte (in German).