European Commission

Durao Barroso points to Bank of Spain’s “serious mistakes” in supervising crisis

SANTANDER | By Ana Fuentes | European Commission President José Manuel Durao Barroso chose his last days in the job to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. Surprising many by his candor, he directly accused the Bank of Spain of making “important mistakes” supervising the financial sector. “It was not the EU nor Ms Merkel who originated the crisis,” he said.


EU’s probe on Apple puts multinationals tax deals under the spotlight

MADRID  | The Corner | The European Union may get tough on its country members having sweetheart tax deals with global corporations. So far Ireland (and possibly Luxembourg and the Netherlands soon) will have to submit information about its fiscal arrangements granted to multinationals like Apple, Amazon or Starbucks. The move came after last year the US Senate accused Ireland of giving a special fiscal treatment to Apple. Where are the loopholes?



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Brussels demands more austerity to Spain to meet deficit target, praises banks’ reform

MADRID | By The Corner | In its first surveillance report after the Spanish banking sector bailout, the EC believes that entities are stronger and cleaner. Even if NPLs ratio has not stabilized, banks “are shifting towards more stable funding, such as deposits, and are relying less on borrowing from the Eurosystem.” As market access conditions have greatly improved, Brussels Spain’s return to positive economic growth (using February data, when growth estimates for 2014 were 1% instead of 1.1%) and was positive about the labour market slight improvement, although it warned that jobless rate remains very high (26% 2Q13). Brussels considers that unless further austerity measures are adopted the crisis-battered country won’t meet its deficit goals.


EU recovery loses steam

MADRID | By JP Marin Arrese | One day after the European Commission put Germany under close scrutiny, blaming its fat trade surplus of curtailing other countries’ growth, figures released on economic performance in the third quarter came as a nasty surprise. Exports had stalled in the biggest partner, bringing growth rate to 0.3% down from 0.7% three months before. Resilience in internal demand had saved it from shrinking, openly contradicting Brussels’ claims against Berlin.


Off you go, IMF

PARIS | Calling on the expertise of the IMF helped save the euro at the height of the crisis. However, the personal involvement of the head of the ECB and the creation of specific financial tools have now made recourse to the Washington-based institution unnecessary, says economist .


The capricious European Commission

ROME | By  | While the living standards of Greeks keeps falling and the troika’s management of the crisis has been called into question, European institutions continue to look elsewhere. It is high time the European Commission was held accountable for this appalling tragedy.



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EU changes deficit deadlines approach

Eurozone countries are under an obligation to reduce their deficits to below 3% of GDP by this year. Failing could mean to be fined up to 0.2% of GDP. But the Commission seems to have eased its austerity-led policies in order to boost growth. “It may be reasonable to extend the deadline by two years and to correct the excessive deficit by 2015 at the latest,” European commissioner for economic and monetary affairs and the euro Olli Rehn has said.