Europe – what to look out for in 2013…

EU Parliament Brussels - Some rights reserved by PoetografieWhilst most of the attention will be on whether or not the Euro can survive, or whether another country will need to be bailed out, there will be much else besides going on. So, for your delectation and delight, here are some of the highlights;

The first half of 2013 will see the Irish hold the rotating Presidency and, at the end of their watch, the Europe of 27 will become the Europe of 28, as Croatia become members of the European Union on 1 July, just as the Lithuanians take over the Presidency. Europeans Liberals will be marking the event, with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe (ALDE) holding their Spring Council meeting in Pula. Liberal Democrat Voice will be covering the event, naturally.

The most high profile task for the parliament will be to agree a budget for 2014-2020. With the British in a minority in terms of their view, and the Conservatives relatively irrelevant in terms of the debate in Brussels, expect much high-profile brinkmanship as David Cameron seeks to reduce leakage of support to UKIP. MEPs have already committed themselves to protecting the budgets for research and development and for transport infrastructure projects, but once the global budget is agreed, funding for the Common Agricultural Policy, and regional solidarity funds will be the cause of much horse-trading.

On the economy, negotiations with the Council of Ministers over the question of a banking union, and questions over the governance of the Eurozone will be considered. Meantime, there will be continuing reform of the financial sector, with credit rating agencies and banker bonuses just two of the issues likely to receive attention.

There will also be new carbon dioxide limits for car exhaust emissions, reform of the rail sector to encourage greater competition and, it is expected, a revisit of passenger rights – expect the likes of Michael O’Leary to be incandescent with rage.

And finally, there will be discussion of the Commission’s proposal on improving the number of women on company boards, already considered by the House of Lords (and not favourably). of new rules to restrict marketing of tobacco products (plain packaging, for example), on privacy and data protection, and on a common European asylum policy. In short, something to annoy virtually everybody.

So, nothing controversial there then. And if it doesn’t go to plan, we can have every confidence in the next Presidency. After all, with Greece holding the Presidency, what could possibly go wrong?

* Mark Valladares is the Friday day editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and a member of the ALDE Council.

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7 Comments

  • “On the economy, negotiations with the Council of Ministers over the question of a banking union, and questions over the governance of the Eurozone will be considered.”
    If LD’s are keen to illuminate and educate, ‘muddle headed’ euro sceptics, then this is your golden opportunity. That one sentence extract from the piece, really could do with fleshing out and/or ‘unpacking’ in a great deal more detail, as to exactly what it means? Please?

  • Liberal Eye 4th Jan '13 - 4:43pm

    I agree with John Dunn. That short sentence covers constitutional change on a scale that makes the Lisbon Treaty like a trivial sideshow. No-one should imagine that, just because we are not in the Eurozone, we will not be affected.

    Also the CAP. I seem to remember from some years back that 2013 was when it would next come up for renegotiation but I’m not clear if this is what is meant by the words used here. It’s just a wild guess (!) but I assume that most Lib Dems aren’t in favour of taxing ‘hard pressed families’ to give handouts to large landowners. What is on the table from the Euro establishment and what is our counter proposal?

  • Liberal Eye 4th Jan '13 - 4:49pm

    Mark,

    Surely there’s no need for you to research the whole EZ/banking union thing. There must be someone in the Party (MEP/MP/policy person) who has this covered and would be delighted to explain the complexities to LDV readers.

  • Whilst we in the UK tend to look at our in/out membership of the EU as something we alone can decide in our own time and way, I think we need to lookout in 2013 for those EU voices, that are starting to gain an audience, who are beginning to seriously raise the question about whether the UK’s continued membership is in the EU’s interest …

    The scene could be set just like our original entry into the EEC that in-order to be seen as a committed member that we have to give more away than is necessary. I suspect that even ardent pro-EU’ers would gasp if we had to join the Euro before 2015 etc. etc.

  • Mark, why do you start your article pandering to EU misinformation with the silly line “Whilst most of the attention will be on whether or not the Euro can survive”?

    If you really think there is a possibility that the Euro is unable to “survive” then perhaps you could explain how that could be. What on earth does “survive” mean in your sentence? Do not forget to include how the French, German and Benelux economies would function in your explanation.

    The Euro is a major world reserve currency, The chances of survival of the Euro are not that different to those of the Dollar.

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