10 September 2014
In the economics field, two massive olive branches have been held out to Britain and France. These look like the shrewd movers of an experienced `fixer' as they offer two of the most difficult states - for entirely different reasons – an opportunity for a graceful return to a more European path. An olive branch can be proffered but it requires the other side to accept it. France may be willing but unable – the UK may be just simply unwilling!
· An unexpected bright note for the City has been struck by president-elect Juncker’s appointment of the UK’s Lord Hill as the - highly influential - commissioner for financial services and (explicitly) capital market union. Hill’s role will be vital for the City and it may bolster political support for `Europe’ within the UK. However, the hard fact remains that it includes responsibility for financial stability and that must surely trump `support for the UK’ – should there ever be a clash between the two. Doubtless, the European Parliament will want to be satisfied on this aspect during his nomination hearings. The imminent ECJ judgement on the UK’s case against the ECB for requiring CCPs handling significant volumes of euro to be localised within the jurisdiction of a euro state could provide an early test.
· For France, the unfortunate co-incidence that French Finance Sapin had to announce that the French deficit in 2014 will rise rather than fall was especially difficult just as his predecessor was put in charge of economic affairs at EU level. However, the `team leader’ in this area is the fiscal hawk former Finnish Prime Minister Katainen. So another `early test’ could arise later this year as the Two Pack is operated for the second time and Commissioner Moscovici will have to ask to adhere to the agreed path for deficit reduction.
Welcome to the item at the top of your in-tray!
You have been handed pivotal roles in easing Europe out of its long-running economic crisis. It is not over by a long way and there are no magic bullets – just a long slog to remove the boulders strewn along the road. But first you must have a collective vison of the destination for the European economy. Then you must all work closely together to create a financial system that is capable of supplying credit right across the eurozone economy – from the smallest to the largest companies and across the entire continent. That is the prerequisite for economic recovery and thus jobs – and onwards to re-build political legitimacy.
The new structure of the European Commission is bold, imaginative and reformist way beyond expectations! It looks as though the shake-up of the Commission’s administrative structure is amongst the biggest for decades – no tinkering, rather root and branch re-shaping for the 21st century’s challenges. Juncker has `heard’ the call of the people in the Parliament elections and is responding with a team that looks like a real executive for an integrated Europe.
In the economics field, two massive olive branches have been held out to Britain and France