European Union

Use budget savings to finance tax breaks says French minister

France — Link

Arnaud Montebourg, an outspoken critic of austerity, also attacked EU policies and said European Central Bank should do more to help growth.

'Europe isn't working' admit young Brussels bureaucrats as they call for greater union


In a rare move, a group of young public servants and diplomats based in the European Union's headquarters in Brussels has launched a passionate plea for a more constructive and far-reaching debate about the fate of Europe. Members of the group, called Euro2030, want to remain anonymous to avoid embarrassing the institutions its members work for. But with under two weeks to go before European elections, this new generation of officials at the very heart of the EU has become frustrated both by the tone of the current debate on Europe and by the failures of the EU itself. The group's analysis of Europe's faults and its proposed solutions are at loggerheads with the orthodox view of Brussels institutions. Above all, the young bureaucrats admit that the EU dream is not working – and that European integration “runs the risk” of losing the support of the continent's people. Ludovic Lamant reports.

Paris announces EU to consider joint mission in CAR

International — Link

French President François Hollande says EU will decide next month on helping French forces keep peace in war-torn Central African Republic.

France, Germany follow UK move for welfare curbs on EU migrants

International — Link

France and Germany echo UK calls to restrict welfare payments for EU migrants ahead of a predicted influx of Romanian and Bulgarian workers.

European citizenship for sale - only the wealthy need apply


While the European Union is placing increased resources into blocking clandestine immigration to the continent, its member states, notably those of the south, worst-hit by the financial crisis, are mounting schemes to sell residency rights and even citizenship to wealthy non-EU foreigners in an attempt to attract millions of euros into state coffers. To qualify for most of the schemes it suffices to buy into luxury property, a deal which is notably attracting Russian, Chinese and Middle East investors. The European Commission, meanwhile, says it has no say in the cynical and apparently legal business of selling European citizenship. Ludovic Lamant reports.

Mercenary members cause EU to flop again in its attempts to wage war on tax evasion

International — Analysis

European leaders met this week at a summit intended to decide upon aggressive policies to tackle tax evasion, but the results were far from conclusive, not least because of continuing opposition from Austria and Luxembourg on introducing a yearly automatic exchange of bank account information between member states. Mediapart’s Brussels correspondent Ludovic Lamant reports on the outcome of Wednesday’s talks, and examines whether the European Union is truly capable of acting as the umbrella organisation to halt a tax drain that is estimated to cost its members a combined 1 trillion euros per year.

Hollande says reduced EU budget deal 'good compromise'

International — Link

The French president had argued against major spending cuts in the EU budget, but accepted deal that sees its first-ever reduction for 2014-20.

Tit for tat: France offers 'red carpet' to UK businesses in case of EU pullout

International — Link

Reacting to David Cameron's speech on Europe, France's foreign minister offers refuge to British businesses if UK referendum sees it leave EU.

Delors says UK should leave EU

International — Link

Former European Commission president Jacques Delors told German daily 'British are solely concerned about their economic interests'.

EU to give France more time to cut deficit

France — Link

Reports say France could get an extra year cut its public deficits below the target limit of 3 percent of GDP, while Spain could get longer.

The vital debate Europe's elites have confiscated from its peoples

International — Opinion

France’s Constitutional Council this month ruled that the country’s adoption of the European Union Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance (TSCG), which commits governments to strict deficit limits and, by consequence, severe austerity measures, with harsh penalties for those who transgress, requires no reform to the constitution, and therefore no public consultation through a referendum. The fiscal pact, agreed in March and which socialist President François Hollande initially pledged during his election campaign to renegotiate, is now certain to be ratified by the country’s socialist-dominated parliament. Here, Mediapart Editor-in-Chief Edwy Plenel argues that the move is nothing short of a silent Coup d’Etat imposed by a political elite through flagrant abuse of the democratic process. Europe, he says, desperately needs a thorough debate and public consultation over the policies that are driving nations into a brick wall.

France mulls lifting work restrictions on Roma immigrants

International — Link

French officials to discuss lifting working restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian nationals, in an effort to give legal status for Roma immigrants.

EU warns France over Roma expulsions

International — Link

The European Union says French expulsions of Roma are under scrutiny to ensure they comply with its rules on free movement of people.

Hollande's 'baffling' cold shower approach to European growth


French President François Hollande, whose election campaign was hallmarked by his proposals for tackling the economic crisis by countering austerity measures with growth-led initiatives, has made his support of the European Union’s ‘Compact for Growth and Jobs’ one of the pillars of his policies in Europe. But now the French socialist government is coming under attack for what is perceived by some EU officials as a "contradictory" and "baffling" approach to the European economy. For while outwardly promoting growth, France is joining Germany in limiting an increase in payments to the EU’s 2013 budget to less than half that proposed by the European Commission itself, and which will reduce aid otherwise available to a number of struggling economic sectors. Mediapart's Brussels correspondent Ludovic Lamant reports. 

UK threat to cut EU French farm subsidies if budget rebate targeted

International — Link

Britain threatens cuts in generous EU subsidies to French farmers if President François Hollande challenges its annual EU budget rebate.