EM Germany’s weekly round-up
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.
15/11-21/11/2014 – German newspapers focussed on the Ukraine crisis on Monday while the first meeting between EU Foreign Ministers under Federica Mogherini’s leadership got underway. During the meeting, decisions were made on sanctions against East Ukrainian separatists. Before the meeting even started, the new EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs emphasised that she does not see further sanctions against Russia as a priority, rather dialogue and the development of a common strategy (Die Zeit). In this context, a lot of attention was paid to Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s visit to Moscow on Tuesday. With regard to Russian foreign policy, Russia’s anti-West power politics in the Western Balkans was commented on, which is said to be aimed at hindering further approximation of Balkan States and the EU (Spiegel Online).
After failed talks on the EU budget for 2015 the EU must work out a new budget proposal. The rejected budget was considered controversial, as it required an additional 4.7 billion euros for outstanding invoices. Should the Commission’s next draft budget not be accepted by January, the EU will have to work with emergency budgets, which will restrict longterm projects as well as, for example, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s investment plans (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, FAZ). EM Germany President, Dr. Rainer Wend, outlined his expectations of the new Commission work programme in a Europolitical statement.
EU opponents delivered a motion of no confidence against Juncker in connection with the Luxembourg tax affair. However, without support from larger parliamentary groups the motion does not have a chance of succeeding (FAZ). The German press can hear alarm bells ringing, warning of more opportunities for EU sceptics, populists and the extreme right to exert their influence in the European Parliament (Süddeutsche Zeitung, SZ).
Stricter rules on Commissioners’ contact with business representatives and lobbyists should lead to more trust in the European Commission. A corresponding decision about a transparency initiative was announced by Vice-President Frans Timmermans on Wednesday (FAZ).
Towards the end of the week, the media reported that Great Britain is withdrawing its complaint to the European Court of Justice about the capping of bankers’ bonuses because it lacks the prospect of succeeding (SZ).
Romania elected the German-born mayor of Hermannstadt, Klaus Johannis, as its President on Sunday. Voters who live abroad experienced big problems during the election, as in previous elections, with getting their vote in on time. Johannis, a Conservative, has made it his goal to fight corruption in Romania and to strengthen rule of law (Die Zeit).
Local elections took place in Poland at the weekend, in which the Conservative party “Law and Justice” (PiS) won the majority of votes. For the first time in nine years, with more than 31 per cent of the vote, PiS overtook the Polish Head of Government, Ewa Kopacz’s ruling liberal conservative “Civic Platform” party (PO), which took 27 per cent of the share.
EM Germany President Wend criticised privatisation under troika in a contribution to Monday’s Tagesspiegel. “In 2015, the troika must be dissolved and be taken over politically by the EU”, he said.
On Twitter the debate surrounding next year’s EU budget can be followed via #EUbudget. Information on the European Commission’s working programme for the coming year can be found under #CWP2015.