VW diesel scandal and climate change: can increased independent car checks lead to cleaner mobility?

It was last Thursday when the European Parliament together with the Council and the Commission agreed to enhance the car testing system by providing extra checks to the cars that are or will be placed in the market based on the proposal of the European Commission made on January 2016. Despite the fact that this […]

EU Council agrees to reform the system for motor vehicles but with “restricted” power for the Commission

It was last Monday when the EU ministers gathered in Brussels to draft new rules to prevent future emissions cheating from the automotive companies after the VW emissions scandal. The Council of Ministers from 28 countries proposed rules for cutting down the national authorities’ power giving at the same time the ability to the European […]

The EU Parliament blasts the Council about the tax dealings of the wealthy

The European Parliament once more honored its role as the authentic exponent of the will of the European citizens. Last Tuesday it dismissed as a “missed opportunity” the EU Council’s decision to water down the mandatory exchange of the ‘tax rulings’ between member states. A ‘tax ruling’ is a special taxation arrangement accorded to a […]

Will the three major parties retain control of the new EU Parliament?

Say farewell to the European Parliament you knew and be prepared to work with the new legislature to be constituted after the elections of 22-25 May. This is what the Brussels’s bureaucracy must be thinking these days. The composition of the new Parliament remains a puzzler. If the tendencies the voters have shown in national […]

EU: Protecting victims’ rights from cartels and market abuses

It was high time that the European Union took care of citizens and companies, usually SMEs, who have suffered economic losses and other damages from infringements of the EU antitrust rules, such as cartels and abuses of dominant market positions. Until now it was very difficult for the victims to substantiate their claims for damages […]

The Brussels bureaucracy blocks the Youth Guarantee scheme

The fate of the Youth Guarantee scheme, constituted to help the under 25s to get a job or a training within four months after leaving the education system, is very characteristic of the importance attached to labour matters by the European decision makers and the Brussels bureaucracy in particular. According to the European Economic and […]

Youth unemployment: No light at the end of the tunnel

Last Friday the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) held a public hearing on the implementation of European Union policies to counter youth employment. EESC is a consultative body made up by representatives of Europe’s socio-occupational interest groups and others (employers, workers and various interest groups). It gives its members a platform to express their […]

168 hours left for MEPs – ECOFIN Council to deliver a Banking Union

Contradicting messages are emitted from a statement issued yesterday by the lead MEPs currently negotiating the details of the legislation on the Single Resolution Mechanism and Fund for Eurozone banks with the ECOFIN council. This legislation is set to complete the legal and structural background of the European Banking Union. The other pillar of the […]

How much more social deterioration can the EU people endure?

The Council of the European Union responsible for Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer affairs couldn’t avoid recognizing that the social scenery in the EU is deteriorating fast as 26.8 million jobseekers unable to find a job and 25% of the European population at risk of poverty or social exclusion. Mind you that more than […]

Parliament: Last compromise on bank single resolution mechanism

Undeniably, the European Banking Union’s prime target is to definitely cut the umbilical cord between banks and sovereigns, through the creation of a uniform supervision and insolvency dealing environment for all Eurozone lenders. Yet, Germany and France insist that the final decision for the resolution of a failing bank must be taken by member state […]

EU Parliament: Follow the fraudulent money and confiscate it

In two parallel actions the European Parliament approved, with stormy majorities, two draft laws; one against money laundering and one more to facilitate the confiscation of fraudulently acquired assets. In the first case, the Economic Affairs and the Justice and Home Affairs committees amended a Commission proposal to list in public registers the ultimate owners […]

Draghi proposes timeframe for full Banking Union in five years

Yesterday Mario Draghi, the President of European Central Bank, proposed that the time horizon for the full mutualisation of all bank resolution costs among the EU Banking Union member states, should be cut by half from ten to five years. Also yesterday, in a different occasion, Benoît Cœuré, Member of the Executive Board of the […]

Commission to decide definitely on genetically modified Maize 1507 seed

The Commission is now expected to definitely authorize or deny the cultivation on EU soil, of the genetically modified seed of maize 1507 developed by the American company Monsanto, an affiliate of US giant DuPont. This decision will allow EU member states to exercise their freedom to choose, whether or not to allow the cultivation […]

Parliament compromises on Banking Union but sends market abusers to jail

Yesterday the European Parliament confirmed its willingness to regulate the EU’s financial sector with determination and the obvious intention of convincing the 500 million European citizens that ordinary people matter more than bankers and derivative dealers. Of course all that is happening ahead of the May European elections. To this effect, the plenary of the […]

The mother of all fights about inflation, growth and banks

Reading two accounts by two different people, about what happened in the Eurogroup meeting yesterday in Brussels, gives a clear indication of what will be decided in the ECOFIN Council today. Ollie Rehn, Vice-President of the European Commission and member of the Commission responsible for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro, and Jeroen Dijsselbloem, […]

Is it impossible to place the banks under control?

Within the next few weeks the European Commission is expected to announce a proposal for a structural reform in the banking sector. The declared target is to make sure “that banks do not remain or become too-big, too-complex or too-interconnected to fail”. In announcing its intentions on this grandiose plan, the EU’s executive arm states […]

Parliament toughens its position on banking union

The Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament reiterated the tough position of the legislative in relation to the Single Resolution Mechanism for failing banks. The SRM is meant to complete within the next four months the enactment of a real European Banking Union, according to the MEPs vision. In order to emphasise the decisiveness […]

No better year for the EU’s weak chain links

The European Parliament issued a Press release this week with the ambitious target to inform us all about what is bound to change in our lives this year, resulting from the application of EU laws. It mentions the mercury ban in thermometers and some new rules in recycling of electrical and electronic equipment, the legislation […]

Berlin ‘orders’ the EU Parliament to compromise

As expected the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz  strongly criticised  the agreement reached in the European Council by the 28 EU leaders, on the plan for the enactment of the Banking Union. He said, “The slower and inefficient a system is, the more expensive it will be”. However the Federal Minister for Finance […]

Eurozone close to agreeing on a Banking Union

In the small hours of yesterday night, the ECOFIN Council agreed on a general approach over the single resolution board (SRB) and a single fund for the resolution of banks in Eurozone. These are the main tools of the Single Resolution Mechanism (SRM), which constitutes the second pillar of the grandiose European Banking Union project. […]

How the Irish people were robbed by banks, the Commission and their own government

In 2007 Ireland’s sovereign debt was 25% of the country’s GDP. After the financial crisis – and €140 billion later – in 2012 it reached 120% of the GDP at €190bn. Yet the Dublin government this week celebrated the Irish ‘exit’ from the EU-ECB-IMF troika’s surveillance programme, that brought the 4.5 million people nation to […]

The Parliament sets the way for the European Banking Union

The final shape of the European Banking Union will be served as dessert on the dinner table of the 28 EU leaders on Thursday night. According to the invitation letter that Herman Van Rompuy addressed to the heads of states and governments on the European Union “Over dinner, the focus will be on economic and […]

Commission facilitates the activities of ‘merchants of labour’

With unemployment skyrocketing in all but few countries of the European Union, the Commission found that the timing is right to facilitate the internal mobility of labour in the Union, in a clear cut attempt to exploit the EU’s unemployed of the south and the east and squeeze the wage levels in the north and […]

The European Parliament double-checks the EU 2014-2020 budget

The European Parliament approved yesterday the EU proper budget for the next seven years, set at €960 billion in commitments and €908bn in payments (at 2011 prices). This is the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 providing the financial resources and setting the expenditure limits for all EU institutions and policies. As a general rule the Multiannual […]

2014 budget: The EU may prove unable to agree on own resources

The last fight in the ‘war’ over EU’s proper budget for 2014 is bound to take place this Monday 11 November, after the European Parliament got what it wanted for the 2013 budgetary exercise. For this year’s budget the unpaid bills of 2012 and 2013 totalling at €11.2 billion were at stake, having been now […]

The Social Committee may accept the new ‘contractual’ Eurozone

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), representing employers, workers and other interest groups, issued yesterday a Press release urging for the creation of the Banking Union and the establishment of a uniform bank resolution procedure. Obviously the leadership of the EESC, after reading the conclusions of the last EU summit of 24-25 October and […]

The 28 EU leaders don’t touch the thorny issues

The 28 EU leaders presently meeting in Brussels, seem to have chosen the ‘illegal migration’ and the ‘European pride’ issues as the main items on their agenda. This is the best way to avoid the burning social and economic issues, which torment “the richest continent” of the world, as the President of the European Parliament […]

EU Parliament: The surplus countries must support growth

During the last two days the European Parliament intervened very actively, not only in the economic and budgetary policies of EU proper, but also in the way the 28 member states are formulating their fundamental financial choices, while drafting the 2014 government budgets. For one thing, this morning the plenary House is debating and presumably […]

Who may profit from the rise of the extreme right in the West?

The European Parliament seemed abruptly awoken yesterday to an ugly reality, by recognising the rise of right-wing extremism in Europe, while discussing the murder of Pavlos Fissas, the Greek social activist slaughtered by the gangs of Golden Dawn. Of course the EU Parliament is not the only western top decision making body to suddenly discover, […]

Parliament cuts own spending to facilitate agreement on EU budget

The Budgets Committee of the European Parliament made yesterday a new proposal on the 2014 EU Budget, that the European Council cannot deny. Law makers cut down the legislative’s own expenses, but reversed the Council’s proposed cuts in investments to stimulate growth and jobs. In detail Budgets Committee MEPs voted yesterday in favour of cutting […]