SPD members voted overwhelmingly to allow their party’s leadership to enter talks with the CDU. The vote means leaders can discuss options including a renewed “grand coalition”, an informal cooperation or a formal agreement to tolerate a conservative minority government by not voting down certain parliamentary motions. Attempts to build Germany’s next government have been at a standstill since last month’s collapse of coalition talks between the CDU, the Free Democrats and the Greens. Other European states have expressed their growing impatience with Germany’s political paralysis. Leaders including the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and the Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, have called on Schulz to break the deadlock. The SPD leader acknowledged those appeals on Thursday when he warned that “the continent cannot afford four more years of German European policy a la Schäuble”, referring to the austerity measures of the country’s conservative former finance minister. Schulz told delegates that he wanted EU member states to sign off on a “constitutional treaty” that committed the bloc to take steps towards a federal Europe – a proposal likely to be met with some resistance from Merkel and other EU leaders.
Friday, December 8, 2017
Thursday, December 7, 2017
The management of OMV Petrom, namely Mrs. Mariana Gheorghe, as well as the representatives of the Romanian state on the Supervisory Board of OMV Petrom, Sevil Shhaideh and Radu-Spiridon Cojocaru will be invited to appear in the hearings on the Investigation Commission for the activity of the ANRE, the members of the Commission decided on Thursday. This is the third invitation sent by the Chamber of Deputies to Mrs. Mariana Gheorghe, who refused to show up twice for the hearings, and announced she would send in all the answers to the Comission in writing. Dumitru Costin, the president of the National Union Block (BNS- Blocul Naţional Sindical), yesterday said, in the Parliamentary commission concerning the activity of the ANRE, that OMV Petrom has caused the Romanian state a loss of 7 billion lei, according to some audits made by the Court of Auditors, and the money has yet to be recouped, even though the loss was uncovered in 2015. Iulian Iancu, the president of the Commission, said: "Colleagues have requested extending the invitations again to the management of OMV Petrom. Personally, I don't have much hope. In fact, I had given up making any further invitations. But following the statements of Mr. Costin, I will resume the invitations addressed to Mrs. Mariana Gheorghe and to the members on the Supervisory Board of OMV Petrom, who are the representatives of the Romanian state". Iulian Iancu also said: "Dumitru Costin, the head of the National Union Block (BNS), has presented to the Commission for the Investigation of the activity of the ANRE a document which has also been submitted with the Romanian government, specifically to the General Secretariat of the Government, to the attention of the prime-minister, in which Costin says that, he has received from the Romanian authorities documents concerning OMV, which describe investigations at various stages concerning tax evasion when it comes to salaries, VAT, the modification of the formula and the incorrect payment of royalties by OMV, which, according to the presented data, resulted in a loss of over 1 billion Euros, data backed by the report of the Court of Auditors. That document states that the case has reached the court.
Saturday, December 2, 2017
ECB recommends dropping the guarantee of bank deposits. The Banking Recovery and Resolution Directive, which came into effect less than two years ago, explicitly states that the guaranteed deposits may not be frozen and may not be subject to suspension of payments. With the recommendation to drop the guarantee of bank deposits, the ECB has included the central banks and the Bank of International Settlements in the list of institutions whose accounts and transactions may not be frozen. But we shouldn't be overly worried, because the ECB has proved "generous". "During the transition period, depositors will have access to an adequate quota of their guaranteed deposits to cover the cost of living within five days from submitting the request", the proposal of the ECB shows. But who sets the cost of living and which is the "competent authority" that decides on the withdrawal of the funds? The national institutions for the guarantee of bank deposits have been created precisely to stop or at least to temper massive bank deposit withdrawals. The new proposal of the ECB directly undermines this institutional framework. "If the collapse of a bank looks imminent, a substantial number of guaranteed deposits may be subject to massive withdrawals, because customers want to ensure direct access to their own resources or no longer trust the guarantee scheme", the ECB document further states.The true stake is presented thereafter: "Such a scenario is very likely especially in the case of major banks, where the volume of guaranteed deposits is extremely high and can lead to the erosion of the trust in the guarantee scheme". In the opinion of the European Central Bank, "if the moratorium applied to deposits doesn't include the guaranteed ones as well, then that moratorium can alert the customers with guaranteed deposits that a bank is at imminent risk of collapse", and under these circumstances "the moratorium can prove counterproductive and can result in a deposit flight instead of preventing it". Such proposals aren't just simple prudential measures of authorities that want to show that they have learned the lessons of the crisis, but instead they represent, particularly in the case of the European Central Bank, a tacit acknowledgment of the fact that the monetary policy has failed.
Saturday, October 7, 2017
Spain’s constitutional court has moved to stop the Catalan government making a unilateral declaration of independence by suspending the regional parliament session in which the results of Sunday’s referendum were due to be discussed. On Thursday, the court upheld a challenge by Catalonia’s Socialist party – which opposes secession from Spain – ruling that allowing the Catalan parliament to meet on Monday and potentially declare independence would violate the rights of the party’s MPs. Catalonia's political turmoil prompting firms to consider relocating . Banks Sabadell and Caixa among first to respond amid fears about access to rest of Spain and EU if independence is declared The court warned that any session carried out in defiance of its ban would be “null”, and added that the parliament’s leaders could face criminal action if they ignored the court order. Carme Forcadell, president of the Catalan parliament, said Monday’s session had not yet been formally convened, but that the court’s decision to suspend it “harms freedom of expression and the right of initiative of members of this parliament and shows once more how the courts are being used to solve political problems.” The Catalan government is understood to be meeting to discuss its response to the latest move by the court. It has previously ignored the constitutional court’s rulings, not least its order to suspend the referendum itself. In a television address on Wednesday evening, the Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, repeated his calls for mediation and dialogue with the Spanish government, but said the results of the vote would be put before parliament. “On Sunday we had a referendum under the most difficult circumstances and set an example of who we are,” he said. “Peace and accord is part of who we are. We have to apply the results of the referendum. We have to present the results of the referendum to parliament.”
Monday, October 2, 2017
Sunday, October 1, 2017
Saturday, September 30, 2017
SPAIN - Police have sealed off more than half of the 2,315 schools in Catalonia designated as polling stations for a banned independence referendum as tensions rise ahead of the controversial ballot. Tens of thousands of Catalans are expected to vote in the ballot, which will have no legal status as it has been blocked by Spain’s constitutional court. Madrid has sent thousands of police to the north-eastern region to stop it taking place. A Spanish government source said 163 schools designated as voting centres had been occupied by families as images of families including children in sleeping bags have emerged. Although the polls say the independence side would not win a referendum, Catalans, watching Brexit, have seen how easy it is for polls to be wrong.
People supporting the referendum have camped out overnight in schools in an effort to prevent an order by the head of the Catalan regional police to evacuate and close polling stations by 6am on Sunday. Voting is due to begin at 9am. Catalan police have been instructed to empty the buildings by Sunday morning, but not to use violence to remove the people occupying schools.
The police in the region issued an ultimatum to the separatists, parents and children who are occupying schools to leave by 6am on Sunday – a deadline designed to prevent the vote from taking place, since the polls are supposed to open three hours later. Spain’s foreign minister, Alfonso Dastis, said on Saturday the Catalan government’s plan was anti-democratic and runs “counter to the goals and ideals the European Union” is trying to advance. “What they are pushing is not democracy. It is a mockery of democracy, a travesty of democracy,” he added.