Analysis & Blogs
After an eight-month hiatus, the EU looks finally set to have a new Commissioner in charge of its flagship, the Digital Single Market (DSM) agenda. Mariya Gabriel is a former MEP, and it showed, in an effective hearing before the European Parliament, which is now certain to rubber stamp her appointment. This support matters for Gabriel as she will need to mobilise MEPs to publicly back her agenda, particularly on issues where member states in the Council are proving intractable.
I listened this week to SSM head Danièle Nouy defending the sale of Spain’s Banco Popular to Banco Santander in front of the ECON committee of the European Parliament. It was notable how hard Spanish and Italian MEPS in particular pushed her on the ECB’s declaration that the transfer of ownership had been a success for the SSM and the EU’s new approach to resolution and recovery.
Einstein’s advice for Brexit negotiators: relative urgency depends on regulators as much as on politics
Much has been written at the launch of Brexit negotiations today about the time remaining for negotiators. Michel Barnier has set a deadline of October 2018 for agreeing a withdrawal treaty, which may or may not include an outline of the future UK-EU trading relationship.
Yesterday marked the entry into force of the EU’s ban on data roaming charges. But it’s worth remembering that when the DSM was created in 2015, the strategy was built around three broad objectives: deepening of the single market, cross-border liberalisation and consumer protection.
When Theresa May’s UK’s government was stripped of its majority in last week’s general election, the result was widely interpreted as a demand that the UK government focus on minimising the impact of its exit from the EU. One concrete consequence has been to put the question of customs union...
Migration has drawn the most serious division line between the ‘old’ and ‘new’ EU member states in a decade. This week’s European Commission infringement decision against Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic for their refusal to pledge to accept refugees is just another strong indication of that. But why has Brussels struggled so far to get the key new member states onboard while others – like Romania or the Baltics – seem to be more accommodating?
5 years have passed since the establishment of the banking union concept as the EU’s three-pillar response to breaking the sovereign-bank “doom loop” behind the EU sovereign debt crisis. Those five years have seen some advances, especially in the creation of a new single supervisor for the EU’s...
Ten years of serial crises and rising voter scepticism about mainstream political parties have definitively buried the managerialist consensus that dominated EU policymaking in the early 2000s. The financial crisis, strained public finances and large-scale immigration flows have exposed the...
Last week’s ECJ judgement on the ‘mixity’ question in EU trade agreements was a big one for EU trade policy. The ECJ overturned the Advocate General and years of practice by declaring that almost all of the things the European Commission negotiates on in FTAs should be treated in this respect as the exclusive competence of the EU.
If you want to understand the predicament facing ECB Governor Mario Draghi you need look no further than estimates of long-run real interest rates for the major eurozone economies.
The European Commission published this week its assessment of how the benefits of globalisation can be harnessed, while addressing the anxieties that are also created and which are impacting on political debates across Europe.
When you mention EU states competing to win a prestigious and powerful European regulatory agency from Britain after Brexit, most people would probably think of the European Banking Authority. But the European Medicines Agency is also up for grabs, and the most intriguing bidder is Bucharest.
The early stages of any negotiation are all about positioning. The Brexit negotiation is no different. British Prime Minister Theresa May’s letter invoking Article 50 - and the draft negotiating guidelines issued by European Council President Donald Tusk - are both exercises in positioning. Each sets out objectives and constraints, as the two sides compete to shape the negotiations in their favour.
When the European Commission holds its public hearing on the Capital Markets Union (CMU) tomorrow, one of the key questions will be how to promote fintech while ensuring consumer confidence.
As European leaders head to Rome this weekend to contemplate the EU’s future, there is an elephant in the room, and it is not actually Brexit. It is the question of whether the EU is ultimately reaching the zenith of the harmonising push begun with the creation of the single market thirty years ago. The logic of Brussels has always been that unity follows uniformity. One of the more interesting subtexts in Rome will be the idea that one path to unity may be to accept – even encourage – differences.
We were lucky to have former MEP and Dutch Labour Party President Michiel van Hulten in to GC this week for a briefing on the Dutch election. Michiel provided plenty of food for thought, especially on the coalition-building dynamic over the weeks (months?) ahead. A couple of things stood out from the group’s discussion.
The Dutch election has set a precedent: It pays for ‘mainstream’ European politicians to take a tough line on Turkey, which has become the symbol for the challenges of immigration in many EU member states. Mark Rutte’s stand-off with Ankara was certainly a vote winner.
A poll this week shows French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron for the first time making it to the second round of the elections. It also suggested he would easily defeat Front National leader Marine Le Pen. Previously dismissed, the former investment banker and minister under François Hollande has now become the unexpected frontrunner in France’s most open election in decades.
Manuel Valls’ elimination from France’s Presidential race meant one certainty in an unpredictable election: on 7th May voters will choose a ‘change’ candidate. It may mean the ‘new politics’ promised by Emmanuel Macron, eschewing left/right party structures. It may be the ‘new economy’ promised by François Fillon, with radical structural reforms.
There has been quite a lot of media coverage of the recently finalised negotiations between the EU and the US Department of Treasury and Federal Insurance Office on a “covered agreement” for (re)insurance services. Notable features of the deal include the national, uniform treatment of collateral requirements, exchange of regulatory information between leading supervisors and mutual recognition of financial oversight regimes. This last point in particular couldn’t be more topical.
The upcoming Dutch parliamentary elections on 15 March are the first test in a year that will see populist parties perform strongly in elections in France, Germany, and probably Italy as well. Earlier this week, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s ruled out any coalition with Geert Wilders, leader of the populist right Party of Freedom (PVV).
The EU Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston has delivered an important preliminary conclusion in the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) review of the ratification requirements of the EU-Singapore FTA. This sounds like an arcane question but is actually a big political issue.