Category Archives: European Union

(ECO) Bruxelas quer que os residentes também paguem taxa aeroportuária em Lisboa

(ECOBruxelas considera que a aplicação da taxa aeroportuária em Lisboa a apenas os passageiros não residentes é um ato de discriminação, pelo que exige que seja alargada também aos residentes.

A Comissão Europeia enviou, esta quinta-feira, um parecer fundamentando a Portugal reclamando que a taxa do aeroporto de Lisboa passe a ser conforme com as regras da União Europeia (UE) e também aplicável a passageiros residentes.

Bruxelas deu um prazo de dois meses para que a taxa do aeroporto de Lisboa seja aplicável também a residentes em Portugal, considerando que a cobrança apenas a não residentes constitui uma discriminação em razão da nacionalidade, o que viola as leis da UE.

O envio de um parecer fundamentando é a segunda fase do processo de infração e se a situação não for regularizada, a Comissão Europeia pode levar o caso perante o Tribunal de Justiça da UE.

(Reuters) EU mulls coal, pharma, chemicals tariffs if U.S. hits cars: Wiwo

(Reuters) The European Union will consider introducing tariffs on coal, pharmaceuticals and chemical products from the United States if President Donald Trump imposes restrictions on European cars, Germany’s Wirtschaftswoche magazine reported on Thursday.

“Depending on progress made during the visit of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the member states will decide on their future strategy at the end of next week,” an unnamed EU diplomat was quoted as saying in the magazine.

The list of countermeasures could then be agreed on, said the magazine.

Juncker heads to Washington next week to discuss strained trade relations between the EU and U.S. after Trump imposed tariffs on EU steel and aluminum, and following his repeated threats to extend those measures to European cars.

Wirtschaftswoche said any steps taken in response to tariffs on European cars would have to be broader than earlier, targeted countermeasures following U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Juncker is due to meet Trump on July 25 and has said he will explain that the European Commission coordinates trade policy for the 28-nation bloc.

(Independent) Google to be fined record €4.3bn EU fine over Android – reports


EU commissioners are due to discuss an antitrust probe on Wednesday morning1
EU commissioners are due to discuss an antitrust probe on Wednesday morning

Google is expected be fined around €4.3bn by the European Union over Android apps today, setting a new record for antitrust penalties, according to a person familiar with the EU decision.

The fine, to be announced about midday on Wednesday, ends an EU probe into Google’s contracts with smartphone manufacturers and telecoms operators.

According to Bloomberg reports, Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai had a call with EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager late Tuesday for a so-called state of play meeting.

This is a usual step to alert companies of an impending penalty, according to one of the people, who asked not to be named because the discussion is private.

EU commissioners are due to discuss an antitrust probe on Wednesday morning, according to an online agenda.

The European Commission fine will exceed last year’s then-record €2.4bn penalty following an investigation into Google’s shopping-search service. Google owner Alphabet Inc. and the commission both declined to comment on the Android fines.

(Economist) Why Binyamin Netanyahu is fudging east European history

(Economist) Israel’s prime minister has reasons to suck up to nationalist politicians in eastern Europe, even if they revise their countries’ controversial history regarding Jews

YAD VASHEM, Israel’s national authority for research and commemoration of the Holocaust, is a staid institute, as befits its role, and usually shies away from political controversy. So a public announcement by its leading historians on July 5th, denouncing a joint statement by the prime ministers of Israel and Poland, which it said contained “grave errors and deceptions”, was highly unorthodox.

The statement had been issued a week earlier by Binyamin Netanyahu and Mateusz Morawiecki, to end a crisis in relations between the two countries caused by a new Polish law on the death camps in Poland. It had threatened fines or imprisonment for anyone who blames the Polish nation or state for their part in the Holocaust. Many historians viewed this law as an attempt by the conservative Polish government to revise history, by playing down the willing participation of many Polish citizens in the murder of 3m Polish Jews by Nazi Germany. After months of talks, the Polish government agreed to amend the law, deleting the criminal clauses. In return, Mr Netanyahu signed a statement saying that both countries “reject the actions aimed at blaming Poland or the Polish nation as a whole for the atrocities committed by the Nazis”. The statement also asserts that “the Polish government-in-exile created a mechanism of systematic help and support to Jewish people.”

The historians of Yad Vashem argue that this flies in the face of documentation and historical research which “yield a totally different picture”. Historians say the Polish government-in-exile did little to aid Poland’s Jews and that the Polish resistance, though it fought the Germans, “not only failed to help Jews, but was also not infrequently actively involved in persecuting them.” Though there had been cases of Poles saving Jews, these were “relatively rare”.

This forthright reaction from some of Israel’s most respected historians led to an unusually chastened answer by Mr Netanyahu. “I have listened to the historians’ comments,” he acknowledged. “I respect them and will give them expression.” But there was no question of his changing the joint statement with the Poles.

Mr Netanyahu’s move seems out of character. A historian’s son, he is deeply aware of the Jewish people’s past. Some complain that Mr Netanyahu has exploited the trauma of the Holocaust in his speeches, especially to warn against Iran’s nuclear programme and that he overuses the Holocaust for his political ends.

But Mr Netanyahu has a particular interest in keeping the Polish government happy. In recent years he has pursued closer ties with the central and east European members of the European Union in the hope that they will oppose the block’s support for Palestinian statehood and its members’ joint refusal to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. He also wants to weaken the EU’s commitment to abide by a deal with Iran to curtail its nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. Mr Netanyahu has identified the Visegrad Four, consisting of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, as his main allies within the EU.

The increasingly nationalist Visegrad leaders have given Mr Netanyahu a warmer hearing than he gets in Brussels or Berlin. In July 2017 he was their guest at a Visegrad summit in Budapest.

Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, is due to arrive on his first official visit to Israel on July 18th. Leaders of the Jewish community in Hungary have repeatedly condemned the government of Mr Orban’s Fidesz party for minimising the role played by the country’s regime during the Holocaust in the deportation and murder of over half a million Hungarian Jews. More recently, it protested against the government’s virulent campaign against the financier George Soros, whose Open Society Foundation sponsors pro-democracy groups in Hungary. The campaign against Mr Soros, who is Jewish, used well-worn anti-Semitic themes, portraying him as a “global capitalist” and puppeteer, who tries to control Hungary from behind the scenes.

Israel’s leaders have generally been the first to support Jews around the world on such matters. But Mr Netanyahu has pointedly refused to condemn the attacks on Mr Soros. He seems content to let Poland and Hungary revise history as long as they serve his political purposes.

(CNBC) US tariffs are an ‘unnecessary test’ to Europe’s economic recovery, top finance chief says


Mario Centeno, Portugal's finance minister and head of the group of euro-area finance ministers, listens during a press conference following a Eurogroup meeting in Brussels, Belgium, on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018. 

Mario Centeno, Portugal’s finance minister and head of the group of euro-area finance ministers, listens during a press conference following a Eurogroup meeting in Brussels, Belgium, on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018.

Higher trade tariffs coming from the U.S. are not what the euro zone needs right now following several years of a promising recovery, a high-ranked European official told CNBC.

The 19-member region that shares the single currency has been growing at a gradual pace over the last two years following a sharp downturn due to the sovereign debt crisis of 2011. But the current threat of higher tariffs with key trade partners, especially the U.S., could prove a challenge for the euro area’s fragile recovery.

“This is a major risk that we see for the global economy and certainly for the relationship between the U.S. and Europe,” Mario Centeno, who heads the group of 19 finance ministers for the euro area, told CNBC Wednesday, speaking on increased duties coming from the U.S.

The region grew at a rate of 2.4 percent in 2017 — an expansion not seen in about a decade. However, the economic momentum has cooled down in the start of 2018 — something that higher trade barriers could dampen further.

“We don’t know exactly how it will evolve, but I agree with those that see this process as an unnecessary test to the economic recovery, and actually to the (economic) expansion that our economies were experiencing,” Centeno said.

He added that right now it is important to work toward a limit to the tariffs both in scope and duration.

Greek bonds now less risky, Eurogroup president says

Greek bonds now less risky, Eurogroup president says  

The European Union is currently studying ways to prevent an escalation in trade tensions with the White House. Media reports earlier this week suggested the EU could propose a deal to the world’s biggest car exporters and thus prevent wider ramifications in case President Donald Trump moves ahead with a 25 percent tax on European carmarkers.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also warned in June that higher trade tariffs are the biggest single risk to the euro zone economy. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde told CNBC that the problem now is not the direct economic impact of higher duties, but “the breach in confidence that undermines the relationship” between both the U.S. and Europe.

Lagarde also warned that if the trade tensions escalate further, then the direct impact on the economy will become more substantial.

Until now, Trump has only raised tariffs against the EU on steel and aluminum exports. However, more recently, Trump threatened to put a 25 percent added tax on European cars.

The EU is the largest exporter of motor vehicles in the world, whereas the United States is the largest importer of motor vehicles in the world.

Correction: This article, including the headline, has been updated to correct a quote from Mario Centeno where he stated that tariffs would be an unnecessary test to the euro zone.

(CNBC) SocGen chairman calls on regulators to help strengthen Europe’s banks 


  • The French lender announced the acquisition of the equity markets and commodities arm of the German firm Commerzbank last week.
  • Consolidation may not always the best strategy for these banks, Elisabeth Rudman, managing director at DBRS said.

Chesnot | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The chairman of Societe Generale said Europe‘s banking space should follow in the footsteps of the U.S.’s, calling on regulators to facilitate more consolidation in the region.

Speaking to CNBC over the weekend, Lorenzo Bini Smaghi said that European banks need to become more concentrated, so they can compete with American lenders.

“In general if we look at Europe, obviously there are too many banks and it’s too fragmented so I think Europe needs to move in a direction of more concentration to help better the real economy. If we compare (it) to the U.S., we’ve seen this process of concentration 30 years ago,” Smaghi told CNBC’s Charlotte Reed.

The French lender announced the acquisition of the equity markets and commodities arm of the German firm Commerzbank last week. The deal, which still needs to be cleared by regulators, is an attempt to have a larger presence in the German market at a time when Deutsche Bank is re-defining its strategy, after recent turmoil and management changes.

According to Smaghi, the transformation of European banks “has to come.”

“And of course as chairman of SocGen I can say that we will be a protagonist in this process. But this requires for things to happen on the regulatory side.”

“I’m not suggesting anything at this stage, just that we need more concentrated and larger banks able to compete with the American banks,” he said on potential new mergers.

SocGen chairman: You don't get to a fairer system by raising barriers

SocGen chairman: You don’t get to a fairer system by raising barriers  

On Friday, reports suggested that J.P. Morgan and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China were looking to buy Deutsche Bank, which was promptly denied. In June, another French bank, BNP Paribasbought the asset manager DWS, which was owned by Deutsche Bank. The move was also seen as an attempt to increase its presence in the German market.

However, according to Elisabeth Rudman, managing director at DBRS, consolidation is not always the best strategy for these banks.

“We’ve seen big cross-border mergers and acquisitions in the banking sector in the past and a lot of them did not turn out very well at all … (It’s) difficult to see that as a solution to everything,” she told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” Monday.

“Europe is, in many ways, overbanked and there are still a lot of banks, some big banks and some small banks that are still struggling. But there’s not going to be an overnight solution,” Rudman added.

(ZH) Europe Turns Down Chinese Offer For Grand Alliance Against The US

(ZH) Publicizing its growing exasperation in dealing with president Donald Trump who refuses to halt the tit-for-tat retaliation in the growing trade war with China – which is set to officially begin on Friday when the US slaps $34 billion in Chinese exports with 25% tariffs – but has a habit of doubling down the threatened US reaction to every Chinese trade counteroffer (after all the US imports far more Chinese goods than vice versa)…

… China has proposed a novel idea: to form an alliance with the EU – the world’s largest trading block – against the US, while promising to open up more of China’s economy to European corporations.

The idea was reportedly floated in meetings in Brussels, Berlin and Beijing, between senior Chinese officials, including Vice Premier Liu He and the Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, according to Reuters. Willing to use either a carrot or a stick to achieve its goals, in these meetings China has been putting pressure on the European Union to issue a strong joint statement against President Donald Trump’s trade policies at a summit later this month.

However, perhaps because China’s veneer of the leader of the free trade world is so laughably shallow – China was and remains a pure mercantilist power, whose grand total of protectionist policies put both the US and Europe to shame – the European Union has outright rejected any idea of allying with Beijing against Washington ahead of a Sino-European summit in Beijing on July 16-17.

Instead, in the tradition of every grand, if ultimately worthless meeting of the G-X nations, the summit is expected to produce a “modest communique”, which affirms the commitment of both sides to the multilateral trading system and promises to set up a working group on modernizing the WTO. Incidentally, the past two summits, in 2016 and 2017, ended without a statement due to disagreements over the South China Sea and trade.

Then there is China’s “free-trade” reputation: a recent Rhodium Group report showed that Chinese restrictions on foreign investment are higher in every single sector save real estate, compared to the European Union, while many of the big Chinese takeovers in the bloc would not have been possible for EU companies in China. And while China has promised to open up, EU officials expect any moves to be more symbolic than substantive.

Almost as if behind the facade of smiles and agreement, Europe has absolutely no belief that Beijing will ever follow through with its promises.

In other words, not even when faced with the specter of a full-blown trade war, is Europe willing to terminally alienate the world’s biggest buying power: the US consumer, in exchange for some vague promises for “open trade” from Beijing.

That doesn’t mean that China won’t try however.

Vice Premier Liu He has said privately that China is ready to set out for the first time what sectors it can open to European investment at the annual summit, expected to be attended by President Xi Jinping, China’s Premier Li Keqiang and top EU officials.

Meanwhile, as the US-China trade war has drifted into the front pages of domestic propaganda, Chinese state media has been promoting the message that the European Union is on China’s side, putting the bloc in a delicate position according to Reuters.

In a commentary on Wednesday, China’s official Xinhua news agency said China and Europe “should resist trade protectionism hand in hand”.

“China and European countries are natural partners,” it said. “They firmly believe that free trade is a powerful engine for global economic growth.”

Or maybe Europe’s position is not all that delicate, because when push comes to shove, Europe is nowhere near ready to abandon its trans-Atlantic trade routes:

“China wants the European Union to stand with Beijing against Washington, to take sides,” one European diplomat told Reuters. “We won’t do it and we have told them that.”

But why does Europe – which has so staunchly publicized its disagreement with Trump’s policies – refuse to align with China? Simple: behind closed doors it admits that Trump’s complaints about Beijing are, drumroll, spot on.

Despite Trump’s tariffs on European metals exports and threats to hit the EU’s automobile industry, Brussels shares Washington’s concern about China’s closed markets and what Western governments say is Beijing’s manipulation of trade to dominate global markets.

“We agree with almost all the complaints the U.S. has against China, it’s just we don’t agree with how the United States is handling it,” another diplomat told Reuters.

And while Europe’s position is understandable, if hypocritical – after all if it believes that Trump’s approach to dealing with an ascendant China is the right one, why not just say it – the attention will shift to China, and the admission that Beijing is terrified about the consequences of a full blown trade war.

As Reuters notes, China’s stance is striking given Washington’s deep economic and security ties with European nations. It shows the depth of Chinese concern about a trade war with Washington, as Trump is set to impose tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports on July 6.

It also underscores China’s new boldness in trying to seize leadership amid divisions between the United States and its European, Canadian and Japanese allies over issues including free trade, climate change and foreign policy.

“Trump has split the West, and China is seeking to capitalize on that. It was never comfortable with the West being one bloc,” said a European official involved in EU-China diplomacy.

Wait, that’s the exact same thing the media claims about Putin is doing, although usually in the context of some grand “Kremlin mastermind” when the establishment does not get the desired outcome. The irony is that whereas Putin is merely sitting back and enjoying the show, it is China that is actively engaging in secretive negotiations trying to shift the global balance of power.

“China now feels it can try to split off the European Union in so many areas, on trade, on human rights,” the official said.

So, when “they” say Putin, they really mean Xi? Confusing…

* * *

Never one to act without a long-term strategic plan, Beijing’s approach to cozy up with Europe may have an entirely different motive than isolating Trump: China’s offer at the upcoming summit to open up reflects Beijing’s concern that it is set to face tighter EU controls. Just like in the US, the European Union is seeking to pass legislation to allow greater scrutiny of foreign investments.

Said otherwise, China is suddenly scrambling because it realizes that unless it locks up Europe, it may well be Trump who succeeds in convincing Brussels to sign a bilateral deal with the US, at the expense of cracking down even more on China, a move which would send China’s annual GDP growth well below 6% as Beijing loses full access to its biggest trading partner.

Summarizing Europe’s position, a third diplomat told Reuters quite simply that “we don’t know if this offer to open up is genuine yet,” adding that “it’s unlikely to mark a systemic change.”

To be sure, European envoys say they already sensed a greater urgency from China in 2017 to find like-minded countries willing to stand up against Trump’s “America First” policies. And yet, according to the Reuters report, Europe is not one of those “like-minded countries.”

Almost as if everything that is publicly taking place on the international stage is nothing but a spectacle, one in which everyone’s true motivations are 180 degrees the opposite of what is stated.

(Reuters) U.S. offers German car bosses ‘zero tariffs’ solution to trade row – Handelsblatt

(Reuters) The U.S. ambassador to Germany has told German car bosses that President Donald Trump would suspend threats to impose tariffs on cars imported from the European Union if the bloc lifted duties on U.S. cars, a German newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Handelsblatt said Ambassador Richard Grenell told executives from Daimler (DAIGn.DE), Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) and BMW (BMWG.DE) during a meeting that in exchange Trump wanted the EU to annul duties on U.S. cars imported to the bloc.

Trump threatened last month to impose a 20-percent import tariff on all EU-assembled vehicles, which could upend the industry’s current business model for selling cars in the United States.

Handelsblatt cited people present at the meeting, which took place at the U.S. embassy in Berlin on Wednesday. It said the chief executives of Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen – Dieter Zetsche, Harald Krueger and Herbert Diess respectively – were in attendance.

Daimler and Volkswagen declined to comment. BMW was not immediately available for comment.

A spokeswoman for the German Economy Ministry also declined to comment on the report, saying issues related to the trade dispute with the United States were being handled by the European Commission in Brussels on behalf of EU member states.

A European Commission spokeswoman declined to comment on the report. She said Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker would discuss trade during talks with Trump in Washington later this month.

“This will be an opportunity to discuss the many issues of common interest, notably also relating to trade,” the spokeswoman said.

  • DAIGn.DE
  • VOWG_p.DE

Current U.S. import tariff rates on cars are 2.5 percent and on trucks 25 percent. The EU has a 10 percent levy on car imports from the United States.

Trump hit the EU, Canada and Mexico with tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum at the start of June, ending exemptions that had been in place since March.

The EU executive responded by imposing its own import duties of 25 percent on a range of U.S. goods, including steel and aluminum products, farm produce such as sweetcorn and peanuts, bourbon, jeans and motor-bikes.

Trump’s protectionist trade policies, which also target Chinese imports, have raised fears of a full-blown and protracted trade war that threatens to damage the world economy.

(Reuters) Exclusive: China presses Europe for anti-U.S. alliance on trade

(Reuters) China is putting pressure on the European Union to issue a strong joint statement against President Donald Trump’s trade policies at a summit later this month but is facing resistance, European officials said.

In meetings in Brussels, Berlin and Beijing, senior Chinese officials, including Vice Premier Liu He and the Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, have proposed an alliance between the two economic powers and offered to open more of the Chinese market in a gesture of goodwill.

One proposal has been for China and the European Union to launch joint action against the United States at the World Trade Organisation.

But the European Union, the world’s largest trading bloc, has rejected the idea of allying with Beijing against Washington, five EU officials and diplomats told Reuters, ahead of a Sino-European summit in Beijing on July 16-17.

Instead, the summit is expected to produce a modest communique, which affirms the commitment of both sides to the multilateral trading system and promises to set up a working group on modernizing the WTO, EU officials said.

Vice Premier Liu He has said privately that China is ready to set out for the first time what sectors it can open to European investment at the annual summit, expected to be attended by President Xi Jinping, China’s Premier Li Keqiang and top EU officials.

Chinese state media has promoted the message that the European Union is on China’s side, officials said, putting the bloc in a delicate position. The past two summits, in 2016 and 2017, ended without a statement due to disagreements over the South China Sea and trade.

“China wants the European Union to stand with Beijing against Washington, to take sides,” said one European diplomat. “We won’t do it and we have told them that.”

China’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Beijing’s summit aims.

In a commentary on Wednesday, China’s official Xinhua news agency said China and Europe “should resist trade protectionism hand in hand”.

“China and European countries are natural partners,” it said. “They firmly believe that free trade is a powerful engine for global economic growth.”


Despite Trump’s tariffs on European metals exports and threats to hit the EU’s automobile industry, Brussels shares Washington’s concern about China’s closed markets and what Western governments say is Beijing’s manipulation of trade to dominate global markets.

“We agree with almost all the complaints the U.S. has against China, it’s just we don’t agree with how the United States is handling it,” another diplomat said.

Still, China’s stance is striking given Washington’s deep economic and security ties with European nations. It shows the depth of Chinese concern about a trade war with Washington, as Trump is set to impose tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports on July 6.

It also underscores China’s new boldness in trying to seize leadership amid divisions between the United States and its European, Canadian and Japanese allies over issues including free trade, climate change and foreign policy.

“Trump has split the West, and China is seeking to capitalize on that. It was never comfortable with the West being one bloc,” said a European official involved in EU-China diplomacy.

“China now feels it can try to split off the European Union in so many areas, on trade, on human rights,” the official said.

Another official described the dispute between Trump and Western allies at the Group of Seven summit last month as a gift to Beijing because it showed European leaders losing a long-time ally, at least in trade policy.

European envoys say they already sensed a greater urgency from China in 2017 to find like-minded countries willing to stand up against Trump’s “America First” policies.

FILE PHOTO: Chinese and U.S. flags are set up for a meeting during a visit by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao at China’s Ministry of Transport in Beijing, China April 27, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo


A report by New York-based Rhodium Group, a research consultancy, in April showed that Chinese restrictions on foreign investment are higher in every single sector save real estate, compared to the European Union, while many of the big Chinese takeovers in the bloc would not have been possible for EU companies in China.

China has promised to open up. But EU officials expect any moves to be more symbolic than substantive.

They say China’s decision in May to lower tariffs on imported cars will make little difference because imports make up such a small part of the market. China’s plans to move rapidly to electric vehicles mean that any new benefits it offers traditional European carmakers will be fleeting.

“Whenever the train has left the station we are allowed to enter the platform,” a Beijing-based European executive said.

However, China’s offer at the upcoming summit to open up reflects Beijing’s concern that it is set to face tighter EU controls, and regulators are also blocking Chinese takeover attempts in the United States.

The European Union is seeking to pass legislation to allow greater scrutiny of foreign investments.

“We don’t know if this offer to open up is genuine yet,” a third EU diplomat said. “It’s unlikely to mark a systemic change.”

(JN) O que esconde a palavra populismo – Miguel Poiares Maduro

(JN) A palavra do momento é “populismo” mas poucos a definem, para além da conotação pejorativa que lhe atribuem. O perigo é que se confundam as razões da popularidade do populismo com o próprio populismo. Devemos atender às primeiras e combater o segundo.

O populismo é, na sua origem, uma ideologia que faz coincidir na vontade popular não apenas a democracia mas também a verdade. A conceção dominante de democracia adotou, no entanto, uma conceção pluralista da procura da verdade. Por isso, organizámos a democracia, não apenas como vontade da maioria, mas como um processo deliberativo em que diferentes posições sobre o que é o bem comum são contrapostas e discutidas no seu mérito ainda que, em ultima análise, arbitradas através do voto maioritário. Para esta conceção liberal da democracia, que valoriza a democracia representativa, a vontade maioritária deve partir da qualidade dos argumentos e tem de coexistir com o respeito pelo pluralismo.

O populismo apresenta-se, historicamente, para combater estas dimensões elitista e pluralista. Os movimentos populistas apresentam uma visão do Mundo dividido entre as elites (que ocupam o poder) e o povo (concebido como uma unidade de uma só vontade). A tarefa dos populistas é retomar o poder, em nome do povo, contra essas elites. É fácil compreender o apelo que isto representa em contextos históricos, como o atual, em que uma parte substancial da sociedade se acha não representada pelo sistema político. É também fácil perceber as consequências perversas a que o populismo conduz. Primeiro, a vontade do povo (expressa pela maioria) é, por definição, a verdade e logo não pode estar sujeita a nenhum mecanismo de controlo de poder. O populismo reduz a democracia ao voto da maioria e acaba com os mecanismos de controlo e separação de poderes. Segundo, uma vez que essa verdade não depende do mérito, visto como reflexo do poder das elites, os factos e conhecimento são desvalorizados no processo democrático. Por tudo isto, o populismo não deixa margem para dissidências. Os que discordam são inimigos. Os que se opõem são sabotadores. Todos os factos que não suportem a narrativa são explicados como parte da conspiração das elites e, logo, apenas confirmam essa mesma narrativa, ao demonstrar como tal conspiração é ampla e poderosa.

É irrelevante se um populista acredita na missão que diz prosseguir ou se simplesmente a manipula ao serviço de uma estratégia de poder pessoal. A consequência é a mesma: uma concentração absoluta de poder. É essa concentração absoluta de poder que inevitavelmente se vira contra aqueles que concederam esse poder. É por isso que o populismo, partindo da democracia, acaba por a destruir.


(Politico) EU leaders clinch migration deal in marathon summit

(Politico) Agreement looked in doubt after Italian blocking maneuver.


Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel (C) reacts as she speaks with European Council President Donald Tusk (L) and Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez during an European Union leaders’ summit focused on migration, Brexit and eurozone reforms on June 28, 2018 | Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

Talking through the night, EU leaders surmounted an Italian blockade and clinched a tentative deal early Friday morning to create new “centers” on European soil for housing and processing asylum seekers, and to take an array of other cooperative steps on migration policy.

The deal, reached at 4:35 a.m., still falls short of an overall agreement to revise the EU’s asylum rules, which has bedevilled and eluded leaders since the height of the migration crisis in 2015. But the accord represented a crucial — if not complete — consensus on the bloc’s most divisive issue and stands to ease some political pressure, particularly on German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The deal strikes a balance between concerns of frontier, coastline countries hit hardest by arrivals of migrants and asylum seekers, and the political demands of interior nations who want to stop migrants traveling on to their countries  — and the leaders’ conclusions sought to emphasize a sense of unity and resolve.

“This is a challenge not only for a single member state but for Europe as a whole,” the leaders’ declared. Citing success in reducing the numbers of arrivals in recent years, the leaders added, “The European Council is determined to continue and reinforce this policy to prevent a return to the uncontrolled flows of 2015 and to further stem illegal migration on all existing and emerging routes.”

Exhausted leaders, exiting as the sun rose, expressed a sense of triumph, and relief. “After intensive discussion on perhaps the most challenging topic for the European Union, it’s a good message that we agreed on a common text,” Merkel told reporters.

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker attends a meeting during the European Union leaders’ summit focused on migration, Brexit and eurozone reforms on June 28, 2018 | Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

The migration issue rocketed to the top of the Council summit agenda in recent weeks as Merkel faced an acute political challenge from her coalition partner, Bavaria’s Christian Social Union and its leader, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who threatened to impose tough new border rules to stop migrants from entering Germany.

Merkel won crucial language in the declarations addressing those concerns that will help bolster her position against Seehofer and other critics complaining about so-called “secondary movements” of migrants, who register in one EU country and then cross into another.

“Secondary movements of asylum seekers between member states risk jeopardising the integrity of the Common European Asylum system and the Schengen” common travel area, the leaders declared. “Member states should take all necessary internal legislative and administrative measures to counter such movements.”

Long dinner

The discussion about migration and asylum began over a leaders’ dinner shortly after 8 p.m., following a brief update on Brexit by U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, and it stretched past 4 a.m., with the leaders personally hashing out the details around the table. They did not roll up their sleeves but did pull out pens, and scratch out ideas by hand, according to photos from inside the room.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz acknowledged Friday’s agreement was by no means the end of the debate within the EU on asylum and migration, and leaders said they would continue working to revise the overall asylum rules.“It was a long and hard discussion, there are still many very different approaches in the European Union,” Kurz said.

EU leaders had fully expected a protracted discussion on the issue, and Council President Donald Tusk weeks ago had given up hope on reaching consensus on the so-called Dublin regulation on asylum policies. Instead, Tusk had proposed focusing on universally acceptable proposals to toughen border controls and enforcement, including the establishment of processing centers for asylum seekers outside EU territory, to be operated in partnership with the United Nations refugee agency and the International Organization for Migration.

But Tusk’s cautious, consensus-based approach fell victim to an inflammatory political debate triggered by Merkel’s problems in Bavaria and the installation of a populist government in Italy.

Italy reacted furiously to Merkel’s call for a mini-summit last weekend focused on secondary movements that seemed to steal attention from Rome’s longstanding complaint that frontier nations are unfairly burdened by asylum-seekers’ arrivals, and do not get sufficient help from other EU nations.

Controversial Conte

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, attending his first European Council summit, astonished other leaders on Thursday afternoon by blocking all of their planned joint conclusions, including on noncontroversial topics. Conte, to the dismay of his colleagues, said he would not agree to anything before the conclusion of the difficult migration debate.

It was a stunning debut for the novice Italian politician, a lawyer and law professor, who never previously served in public office, but emerged as the compromise premier in the governing coalition of the anti-establishment 5Stars and the Euroskeptic, hard-right League. And it clearly won him no friends.

At one point, after Conte claimed to be taking a lawyerly approach to the development of Council conclusions — which in fact are political statements and do not have force of law — other leaders openly mocked him with their own professional credentials. Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven cited his experience as a welder and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov chipped in, “I am a firefighter.”

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte threatened to upend the summit | Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

Conte’s blocking move also prompted lengthy explanations of Council procedure, including from Tusk, and it led one senior EU official to note, with some exasperation: “There is no fix.”

French President Emannuel Macron intervened, with support from new Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, by pushing for a proposal to create the so-called “controlled centers” — essentially, secured refugee camps — on EU soil, mainly in frontline countries willing to host them, to be financed and managed collectively by the EU.

The Italians initially opposed the concept, fearing it would add yet more to the burden on frontier countries, but ultimately relented as compromise provisions and reassurances were tacked on to the plan — including a proviso that the EU would still push to establish the processing centers, also called disembarkation platforms, in North Africa.

The Council conclusions stressed that the new controlled centers inside the EU would be set up “only on a voluntary basis … without prejudice to the Dublin reform” leaving an opening for Italy to renew its push for mandatory relocations of refugees under a quota system — an approach that has little support across the bloc. The conclusions call for “a speedy solution to the whole package,” with a progress report due at the October Council summit.

‘Not alone’

The plan also included a declaration that asylum seekers landing in Italy will be regarded as arriving “in Europe” — essentially a rhetorical message that responsibility for them will be shared, though exactly how was not fully spelled out.

“Italy is not alone anymore,” Conte said once the deal was reached.

Sánchez, who like Conte leads the government of a frontline country and was also attending his very first Council summit, set himself apart from the Italian by playing a conciliatory role throughout.

Chancellor of Austria Sebastian Kurz | Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Meanwhile, the Visegrad Four group of Central European countries — Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia — that have been most resistant to accepting refugees and fiercely opposed to any mandatory quotas, said they could accept the text.

One diplomat said the Visegrad Four were still adamant that frontier countries should be responsible for enforcing border controls, and had pushed to limit the use of the word “solidarity” in the text of the compromise deal.

Rare block

Diplomats noted that there previous examples of countries blocking the formal Council conclusions — the last instance being in March 2017, when Poland did so in opposition to the reelection of Tusk as Council president. Tusk, a former Polish prime minister, is a nemesis of Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of the governing Law and Justice Party.

And in December 2016, Austria blocked conclusions in a dispute over whether Turkey should remain a candidate country for EU membership.

But officials said that the Italians badly miscalculated in this case, in part because they were on track to win many of their demands without engaging in obstruction — simply because their goals were aligned with the political imperatives of Merkel, who is still the EU’s most influential leader.

Conte also put himself, and the League leader, Matteo Salvini, at risk of stalling cooperative ventures with broad support, including strengthening EU defense cooperation, pushing legislative initiatives that promote digital innovation, and speeding work on the bloc’s next long-term budget.

A very short discussion then followed on Russia, and the continuing lack of progress in implementing the Minsk 2 peace agreement in eastern Ukraine.

In the end, the agreement reached before dawn included approval of the full set of Council conclusions, along with the migration package.

Even after reaching agreement on the migration package, leaders still weren’t done. A very short discussion then followed on Russia, and the continuing lack of progress in implementing the Minsk 2 peace agreement in eastern Ukraine. Officials said the result was consensus on a six-month rollover of sanctions against Russia.

In addition, the leaders agreed to support a plan to reshape the European Parliament after Brexit.

Leaders seemed happy, and exhausted, as they left the Council. Sánchez called the agreement “good news” for Spain and for Europe. Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen looked at the television cameras on his way out and yawned.

Andrew Gray contributed reporting.

(OBS) Têm mesmo a certeza que querem receber mais imigrantes? – José Manuel Fernandes

(OBS) Não somos bem como os outros europeus e não há melhor exemplo que a atitude perante a imigração. Mas não nos iludamos: não somos mais gentis nem mais solidários. Estamos apenas mais longe do problema.

1. Irrita-me a hipocrisia. Tal como me irrita darem-se lições de moral aos outros que dificilmente aplicaríamos a nós próprios. O debate sobre a imigração é um bom exemplo desses irritantes, pelo que não há nada como ser frontal.

Primeiro que tudo, vamos imaginar que todos os verões uma flotilha de barcos de ONG’s (de países nórdicos) andava pelas costas de Marrocos (em vez de andar pelas costas da Líbia) a recolher imigrantes que tinham sido abandonados à sua sorte pelos traficantes que os haviam trazido da África subsaariana. Esses traficantes tinham-lhes extorquido milhares de euros (ou dólares) e, depois, tinham-nos lançado ao mar na expectativa de que esses barcos os salvassem – esses ou outros das frotas dos países da União Europeia.

Vamos continuar a imaginar que esses barcos rumavam depois ao porto de Faro, ou de Portimão (e não a Roterdão, Hamburgo ou Oslo), e aí deixavam os desgraçados que tinham recolhido, pedindo que os acolhêssemos em nome de princípios humanitários. E que há vários anos que era assim todos os verões, sendo já centenas de milhar os imigrantes que, de uma forma ou outra, tinham acabado a cargo do Estado português.

Vamos agora pensar que a Espanha fazia connosco o que a França fez com Itália: suspendia Schengen, fechava as fronteiras, caçava os imigrantes que mesmo assim conseguissem passar e devolvi-os ao nosso país. Isto sabendo que a “quotas” acordadas entre os países da União Europeia são uma brincadeira de mau gosto, pois na prática o país onde os imigrantes desembarcam é aquele que tem de tratar deles – e que neste cenário esse país seria Portugal.

Vamos por fim fazer algumas contas para ficarmos a saber que os encargos com estas vagas de imigrantes (na sua quase totalidade imigrantes económicos, só excepcionalmente verdadeiros refugiados) pesava no Orçamento português o equivalente ao que pesa no italiano, o que poderia ficar não muito longe dos mil milhões de euros. Ou seja, aquilo que muitos dizem faltar ao Serviço Nacional de Saúde. Mais: que a chegada destes imigrantes fazia com que muitos deles competissem com os portugueses com menos qualificações pelos empregos que, por fim, estão agora a ser criados.

E agora vamos ser honestos: acham sinceramente que se Portugal estivesse a viver esta experiência o nosso sistema político continuaria intacto e politicamente correcto? Têm mesmo a certeza de que continuaríamos a ser a honrosa “excepção à vaga de populismo” que varre os outros países da Europa?

Os portugueses têm fama de ser mansos, mas há mansidões que não duram para sempre. E talvez até já exista por aí uma bolsa de eleitores que só espera uma oportunidade para se exprimir de forma menos convencional, pois temos uma das mais elevadas taxas de abstenção da Europa. Mais: nos últimos 20 anos a participação eleitoral em eleições legislativas desceu 500 mil votos e em presidenciais desceu um milhão de votos. Mais ainda: nesse mesmo período de duas décadas PS, PSD e CDS perderam em conjunto 1,25 milhões de votos. Um dia podemos mesmo ter uma surpresa.

2. Porque é que digo isso? Porque não creio que os dois terços de italianos que apoiam as políticas anti-imigração de Mateo Salvini, o líder da Liga, sejam todos xenófobos e racistas — tal como não tenho fé na eterna mansidão dos portugueses. Esses eleitores sentem é que têm um problema grave para o qual a União Europeia não encontrou solução. Por mais lamentável que seja a linguagem do senhor Salvini, a verdade é que ela tocou num ponto sensível – e visou sobretudo um problema para o qual temos de ter a honestidade de aceitar que não há boas soluções. E que não se resolve apenas com bons corações.

Primeiro ponto: a dimensão dos fluxos migratórios tem hoje uma escala que desafia os equilíbrios globais. E que é também um problema global: de acordo com uma sondagem da Gallup, mais de 700 milhões de pessoas gostariam de imigrar se pudessem, quase todas vindas de países pobres, a esmagadora maioria declarando ter como destino desejado ou os Estados Unidos (21%) ou a União Europeia (23%). É compreensível: mesmo os mais pobres no mundo desenvolvido têm condições de vida inalcançáveis pelos que vivem nos países de origem dos imigrantes.

Esta é uma onda que não se para com as mãos. Pior: se este movimento de populações se materializasse mesmo que só muito parcialmente ele submergiria os países mais desenvolvidos. Esta é uma onda que só numa pequena parte gera verdadeiros refugiados, pois estamos a falar de migrantes económicos. Em Portugal, por exemplo, de acordo com o mais recente relatório do SEF, relativo a 2017, dos 1750 pedidos de estatuto de refugiado só 119 foram deferidos. Excluindo períodos excepcionais, como o de 2015, quando ocorreu a grande vaga de fugitivos da guerra da Síria, a regra é mesmo esta: quase todos os que chegam às nossas fronteiras chegam por motivos económicos.

Podem as fronteiras estar totalmente abertas quando é esta a dimensão da procura? Será razoável pensar que é acolhendo uns milhões de migrantes económicos que se resolve o problema da pobreza nos seus países de origem? E até que ponto é que as acções de resgate que têm lugar no Mediterrâneo não acabam por ser cúmplices dos traficantes, sendo que estes até confessam que, depois de lançarem à água os botes precários que encheram com desgraçados a que espoliaram centenas ou milhares de euros, tratam de dar o alarme para que uma ONG ou um navio europeu os recolha quando chegam a alto mar?

Nenhuma destas perguntas tem uma resposta simpática, e é precisamente por não terem que a “solidariedade europeia” que deverá sair do Conselho Europeu desta semana deverá corresponder sobretudo a uma tentativa de tornar o problema menos visível – mas também é uma solução com muito pouco de “coração”.

3. Olhar para estes problemas a partir de Portugal é tão fácil como enganador. Primeiro, porque se trata de um problema que verdadeiramente não temos, pois apesar de o ano passado ter aumentado o número de imigrantes a chegar para Portugal, boa parte desses imigrantes vêm de países ricos para viverem cá as suas reformas, enquanto a maioria dos outros chega de países com uma cultura muito semelhante à nossa (Brasil e Cabo Verde, por exemplo). Mesmo assim, quando olhamos para os números, verificamos que, em toda a União Europeia, e considerando a relação entre número de imigrantes vindos de fora da Europa e a população do país, somos o segundo Estado que proporcionalmente menos imigrantes recebeu (o equivalente a 0,08% da nossa população em 2016), logo a seguir à “xenófoba” Eslováquia (com 0,01%), mas menos do que a “odiosa” Hungria (0,14%) e muito, muito menos do que a Suécia (1,06%). Esta generosidade da Suécia está contudo a ter um custo político, com os partidos anti-imigração a crescerem e os partidos de Governo, incluindo os socialistas, a adoptarem um discurso mais duro. Pior: no caso da Suécia é mesmo verdade (ao contrário do que sucede na Alemanha) que se está a assistir a uma subida da violência associada a gangues e a comunidades imigrantes, uma realidade que mesmo a imprensa bem comportada já não consegue disfarçar.

Depois, porque a imigração parece ser um problema que pouco ou nada preocupa os portugueses. O mais recente eurobarómetro continua a colocar a imigração como o problema europeu que mais preocupa os cidadãos da União Europeia, o que é verdade em todos os países menos num, precisamente Portugal, em que esse tema não surge senão em quarto lugar na preocupação dos inquiridos. Como ainda se tem dado o caso de boa parte dos refugiados que “generosamente” acolhemos, nomeadamente aquando da crise síria, terem preferido ignorar a nossa hospitalidade e usado o nosso país apenas como ponto de entrada na Europa, não surpreende que o tema não seja tema no debate político, onde todos têm imenso “coração” e onde não faltam manifestações quase unânimes de indignação pelo que os outros países europeus estão a fazer.

A imigração, a par com o terrorismo, é o problema que mais preocupa os europeus, em especial depois da crise do Verão de 2015. Os europeus todos não: os portugueses são a única excepção

4. A Europa, sobre este tema, concordou em discordar. E em assumir que o máximo que se conseguirá na reunião de líderes desta semana é encontrar alguns acordos bilaterais ou trilaterais ao mesmo tempo que se procurará repetir no norte de África o que se fez na Turquia para estancar a crise dos refugiados da Síria: conseguir quem fique com os imigrantes, ou os envie de regresso à origem, a troco de um cheque mais ou menos generoso. A Turquia já o faz utilizando métodos de que nem queremos tomar conhecimento. A Argélia já o fez de forma que nos incomodou, mas verdadeiramente não indignou nem comoveu – na verdade, cinicamente, acabaremos a olhar para outro lado.

O que se propõe não será muito bonito: campos de acolhimento na costa do norte de África onde se fará a triagem dos imigrantes, eventualmente separando os verdadeiros refugiados, eventualmente tratando de distribuir uma (pequena) parte dos outros através de um sistema de quotas. A Hungria tem uma vedação de arame farpado na sua fronteira sul? A Europa vai, “humanitariamente”, tratar de colocar o Mediterrâneo entre os imigrantes e a margem sul do nosso continente — o que representará, suponho, uma barreira mais eficaz. De resto, neste dispositivo, os muros que já existem em Ceuta e Melilha, os enclaves espanhóis em Marrocos, são – continuarão a ser – o detalhe a que não se presta atenção.

Vou ser franco: esta solução que nos venderão com sinal da “solidariedade europeia” é, provavelmente, a menos má das soluções. Talvez mesmo a que nos permita escapar ao sucesso eleitoral dos Salvini deste mundo. Por isso mesmo não tenho grandes estados de alma – mas também não vendo gato por lebre nem cultivo a hipocrisia: pouco a pouco estamos a construir uma fortaleza Europa e essa é, provavelmente, a melhor forma de a salvar.

5. Não tenhamos porém ilusões: este é um continente em decadência. Ainda é, estou seguro, a melhor parte do mundo para se viver, mas vai progressivamente deixar de ser a mais rica. E, se calhar, isso é mesmo o melhor que nos pode acontecer.

A Europa tem um problema demográfico e a demografia não muda senão em gerações. Os imigrantes podem ajudar a mitigar essa crise? Podem, e estou seguro que esse foi um dos motivos por que, em 2015, Angela Merkel decidiu abrir as fronteiras a um milhão de refugiados. Só que esse foi um raciocínio tecnocrático, pouco político: entre manterem a sua identidade e empobrecerem ou diluírem a sua identidade e continuarem competitivos, os eleitorados parecem preferir manter a sua identidade – até porque o empobrecimento relativo é uma coisa do futuro, não uma realidade dos dias que correm. Foi este erro de percepção de Angela Merkel que abriu caminho à AfD.

E Portugal, que tem um problema demográfico pelo menos tão grave como o alemão? Os políticos olham para os estudos académicos e para as suas contas, e decretam: é preciso atrair 75 mil imigrantes por ano. Claro que nos falam dos imigrantes fofinhos, simpáticos, os que vêm fazer start ups, mas a verdade é que para alcançar mesmo esse tal equilíbrio demográfico necessitamos de muitos dos outros. Dos menos fofinhos. Dos que não são louros nem de cultura judaico-cristã.

Pensemos um pouco. Olhando para o estudo (da FFMS), e para o seu conceito de “migração de substituição”, até podemos ver os números a bater certo e a população portuguesa a manter-se estável num horizonte de 40 anos. O que porém não se valoriza politicamente é que nesse mesmo horizonte temporal ocorreria uma transformação potencialmente radical daquilo que Portugal é: em 40 anos passaríamos a ser um país onde cerca de um quarto da população não seria de origem portuguesa. Não sei mesmo se na Lisboa do tempo da Descobertas (termo que ainda escrevo e escreverei com letra grande) existiria essa proporção.

Este cenário suscita-me duas questões. Primeiro, se é mesmo esse o país que desejamos. Segundo, e mais importante, se esse país pode algum dia ser aceite pelos portugueses sem que, pelo caminho, tropecemos naqueles fenómenos políticos a que hoje dizemos estar imunes.

É de facto muito bonito fazer proclamações grandiloquentes sobre princípios humanitários e uma política guiada pelo coração. É menos bonito constatar que um pouco de realpolitik, com todo o seu cinismo, pode causar menos danos e até fazer mais o bem.

Por mim, e apesar de tudo, prefiro viver em democracia, mesmo que às vezes mais pobre – é que, como dizia Churchill, esta é a pior forma de governo, à excepção de todas as outras. Ora se a democracia nos dá Salvinis o antídoto só pode ser perceber que talvez seja melhor entender o porquê e tratar de tomar medidas preventivas em vez de fazer apenas discursos moralistas.

(ECO) Na Europa ganhamos todos – Mário Centeno

(ECO) Confrontamo-nos sempre com a mesma velha questão: seremos capazes de assumir o comando nos bons momentos ou vamos esperar por outra crise para mostrar a nossa força?

Esqueçamos os céticos. A Europa está a ganhar. A crise pôs o euro à prova, mas o euro saiu mais forte. Quando discutimos medidas para fortalecer ainda mais a moeda única, confrontamo-nos sempre com a mesma velha questão. Seremos capazes de assumir o comando nos bons momentos ou vamos esperar por outra crise para mostrar a nossa força?

No auge da crise, não era evidente que o euro saísse ileso. A grande depressão trouxe dificuldades a muitos dos nossos cidadãos, reduziu a popularidade do euro a níveis recorde e precipitou uma partilha de recursos entre Estados-membros. Fomos apanhados desprevenidos, mas perante o perigo real, os líderes europeus escolheram sair das suas zonas de conforto para defender a nossa moeda. A criação de uma ‘rede de segurança’ para a dívida soberana de 500 mil milhões de euros – o Mecanismo Europeu de Estabilidade (MEE) – é provavelmente o exemplo mais claro deste esforço.
Não duvidem: a expansão económica que vivemos hoje é a recompensa.

Todas as economias do euro gozam de um crescimento sólido. Os legados da crise, como a dívida pública, os défices e o desemprego, caem a pique e de uma forma coordenada na zona euro, sem precedentes. De entre todos os países, a Grécia é talvez a melhor prova da nossa determinação. Após oito anos de ajustamento apoiado por 256 mil milhões de euros em empréstimos, a Grécia sairá finalmente do seu programa de assistência financeira este verão.

Paciência e determinação política são fundamentais. A paciência é o melhor antídoto contra populismos crescentes e extremos políticos. Defender o euro com instituições reforçadas é a solução mais barata para promover as nossas sociedades e economias num mundo em transformação. Tentámos outras soluções no passado, mas revelaram-se muito mais caras.

Esta nossa união económica e monetária ainda é um projeto inacabado. Nesse sentido, o Presidente do Conselho Europeu, Donald Tusk, pediu ao Eurogrupo que desenvolvesse soluções para completar a união bancária e reforçar o MEE. O progresso registado nas nossas discussões no Eurogrupo pode ser agora traduzido num conjunto de decisões quando os líderes se encontrarem em Bruxelas no final desta semana.

“É possível avançar na partilha de risco, uma vez que temos reduzido os riscos no setor bancário.”

Mário Centeno

Não se trata de um Big Bang: esse não seria o caminho mais eficaz para reformar o euro. Uma das propostas chave sobre a mesa é fazer do MEE uma rede de segurança de último recurso (‘backstop’) para a resolução bancária. Assim evitaremos de forma credível que bancos em dificuldade prejudiquem no futuro as nossas economias e os nossos contribuintes. Além disso, o MEE pode obter novas ferramentas para lidar com as crises soberanas. E, ao mesmo tempo, estamos prontos para abrir o caminho a discussões políticas no sentido de criar um sistema europeu de garantia de depósitos, de forma a evitar que uma corrida aos bancos se repita na Europa.

É possível dar passos no sentido de uma partilha de riscos, uma vez que temos vindo a reduzir riscos no setor bancário. Um relatório recente da Comissão Europeia, do Mecanismo Único de Supervisão e do Conselho Único de Resolução nota que, nos últimos anos, os bancos aumentaram significativamente as suas reservas de capital, ao mesmo tempo que reduziram o seu nível de endividamento e os stocks de créditos em mal parado. Estes últimos caíram a pique, um terço do total de créditos, desde o início da crise, em particular naqueles países em pior posição. No terceiro trimestre do ano passado, a média dos níveis de crédito mal parado ficou nos 4,4% do total dos empréstimos, mantendo-se a trajetória descendente dos trimestres anteriores. Os indicadores recentes mostram que essa tendência se mantém, e assim terá de continuar.

No mês passado, os Ministros das Finanças da União Europeia deram mais um grande passo no sentido de reduzir riscos ao obterem um acordo para uma posição comum no chamado Pacote Bancário. Isto inclui uma regra que estabelece a quantidade de capital subordinado que os bancos necessitam para absorver as perdas antes do recurso aos fundos de resolução.

Em retrospetiva, o nosso ênfase em desenvolver a união bancária e o MEE revelou-se uma abordagem correta. Permitiu-nos encetar um processo de reforma e reforçar confiança no sistema. Temos de prosseguir este caminho e também mostrar abertura a discutir outras áreas.

Nestes seis meses como Presidente do Eurogrupo, aprendi que cada país – incluindo Portugal – tem as suas próprias preferências neste debate. Para alguns, um instrumento orçamental ou um orçamento da zona euro é uma prioridade chave. Esta ideia tem levantado preocupações relativamente ao risco moral e a transferências permanentes, que não podem ser ignoradas e devem ser tidas em conta.

As propostas recentes da Alemanha e França, mas também as da Comissão, são um contributo positivo para a nossa discussão. Outros países devem também apresentar as suas próprias propostas de forma construtiva. Não podemos construir trincheiras em torno de linhas vermelhas na negociação. O sucesso do euro resulta da nossa vontade política e capacidade de liderança, combinando ousadia e pragmatismo.

Neste debate devemos igualmente estar conscientes dos custos de inação. Se formos incapazes de garantir uma zona euro mais forte onde todos os nossos países possam prosperar, o euro não será sustentável. E esse já não é um problema de alguns, é um problema de todos.

(Economist) An emergency EU summit makes little progress on migration

(Economist) Italy wants a radical change to the system

IT WAS billed as the summit to save Angela Merkel. Instead it simply highlighted the unending difficulty that Europe’s leaders face in managing illegal immigration from outside the continent. At Mrs Merkel’s request, 16 EU leaders convened in Brussels on June 24th for an impromptu summit. The chancellor is under siege from a coalition partner that wants to turn away asylum-seekers at Germany’s borders. That, she fears, could trigger a domino effect across the EU, endangering its passport-free Schengen system. Having earned herself two weeks’ breathing space at home, she arranged the meeting to work on what she calls a “European solution”.

But Italy’s new government, a populist coalition with a strong anti-immigrant streak, has other ideas. Giuseppe Conte, the prime minister, brought to Brussels a ten-point “Multi-level Strategy for Migration”. Much of it trod familiar ground. The Italians want “centres of international protection” in North Africa, run in co-operation with international agencies, where migrants, including those saved at sea, can be brought to have their asylum claims assessed. Others want some of these centres inside the EU; a scaled-up version of the “hotspots” that have been in place in Greece and Italy for several years, although perhaps with beefed-up detention facilities. Leaders will discuss all this at a full EU summit later this week, along with much else, including euro-zone reform.

The Italian plan also contained a bombshell. It proposes to end the link between a migrant’s point of arrival and the responsibility for processing his or her asylum claim. That seems to imply a radically stepped-up version of a controversial refugee-redistribution scheme pushed through in 2015, designed to relieve the burden from Greece and Italy. Unlike that programme the new Italian scheme would be permanent, and, crucially, would cover migrants from every country, not just those with a credible claim for refugee status. It is unworkable, in part, because other EU countries are unwilling to participate.

Italy has a clear incentive to push such a scheme. Less than half the asylum-seekers that reach its shores are eligible for protection; it must take responsibility for deporting the rest, many of whom slip across borders, infuriating Italy’s neighbours, or linger in the grey economy because their home countries will not take them back. But the EU has been trying to agree a less radical refugee-sharing proposal for years. Its biggest opponents, the “Visegrad” leaders of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland, boycotted the meeting. In particular Viktor Orban, Hungary’s prime minister, will not countenance any scheme that would oblige him to accept migrants.

In fact the summit was not as ill-humoured as some had predicted. The leaders like the principle of disembarkation camps, although it is not clear where and under whose jurisdiction they should be. They discussed rules to determine which state should take responsibility for ships bearing migrants, and agreed to carve up responsibility among themselves for striking deals with migrants’ home countries to speed up deportations. The EU’s largely toothless asylum body may be given more powers to adjudicate claims, helping to relieve national agencies. Money will be found for all this. Oddly, in a half-hour speech to his fellow leaders, Mr Conte did not dwell on his more radical proposals. He left the meeting declaring himself “decidedly satisfied”.

Yet none of the underlying tensions has been resolved. Germany is desperate to stop asylum-seekers reaching its borders from elsewhere in the EU. Italy wants to stop as many of them as possible from arriving on its shores, and to ensure it does not need to take responsibility for those that do. The Visegrad countries resist any attempt to oblige them to share the burden. For the last few years leaders have attempted to sidestep such disagreements over the “internal” dimension of migration (how to manage migrants once inside the EU) by focusing on its “external” side (stopping them from leaving in the first place). But the internal movement was always going to come back to bite. Indeed, the depth of the disagreements is reminiscent of the migrant crisis of 2015-16, when the intensity of arguments among leaders exceeded anything seen in the depth of the euro crisis.

The difference now is that the “crisis” is only political. Both illegal sea crossings and asylum claims (which lag behind migratory movements) are at their lowest for years, thanks in part to deals struck with Turkey and Libya. But the politics of migration operate on a delayed cycle. The refugee crisis boosted anti-immigration parties across Europe, and the results are only now becoming apparent. In Italy the populists are attempting to deliver on their election promises from within government. In Germany they are increasingly calling the shots from outside.

The European debate therefore follows its own political logic, ever-more detached from the root causes of migratory flows. Discussions over wars in the Middle East, failed states in north Africa or poverty in sub-Saharan Africa will have to wait for another day. They always do.

(BBG) ECB’s Job-Rich Recovery Shows Up in Portugal as Italy Struggles

(BBG) The European Central Bank’s choice of Portugal for its annual forum puts its officials in a nation that shows what can be achieved by cheap funding and a program of economic reform — and the limits.

Portuguese unemployment has dived since the euro area came out of a double-dip recession and debt crisis in 2013, and is now below the currency bloc’s average. The turnaround is partly due to economic reforms required as part of its 2011 bailout by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, and partly because of the ECB’s ultra-low interest rates and bond-buying.

That’s likely to please ECB President Mario Draghi, who used his opening speech in the hilltop resort of Sintra to praise the euro zone’s “job-rich” recovery. It’s also in stark contrast to Italy, which avoided financial rescue but put off the structural adjustments that could have helped people back to work.

“I wish Italy had the same prospects as Portugal these days,” Italian-born Luigi Zingales, professor of finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, said in a Bloomberg TV interview in Sintra. Portugal “went through a very tough time, they went through a program with very strict guidelines. But they are coming out of it.”

The country made hiring and collective bargaining more flexible, changes described by the IMF as crucial in facilitating the employment-driven character of the recovery. The reforms helped cut production costs in the country, increasing its competitiveness. That’s vital because membership of the euro means currency devaluation, which would largely achieve the same thing, wasn’t an option.

Italy, on the other hand, hasn’t managed to align wage growth with productivity, even after a controversial labor-reform package was introduced in 2015. Voters have now elected an anti-establishment government that plans to boost public spending despite having the highest debt burden in the region.

Portugal has managed to avert such a rise in populist sentiment, but the current Socialist administration is signaling that the pain of structural reforms has gone far enough. After taking office in 2015, Prime Minister Antonio Costa reversed state salary cuts, raised the minimum wage and reduced the working week for state employees.

That trend has raised some concerns at the ECB and the European Commission, which said in a joint economic assessment of the country last week that “it remains essential for policies to continue supporting the adaptability of the labor market.”

Only So Far

For central bankers, the country demonstrates that there is only so much they can do to help boost growth, particularly as gradually accelerating price pressures reduce the need for accommodative policy.

When Draghi put his institution last week on a gradual path toward halting its stimulus by ending net bond purchases, he also reiterated his call for governments to “substantially” step up structural reforms to boost growth potential.

The same goes for rebuilding fiscal buffers. Portugal is one of several countries at risk from tighter monetary policy because of a debt burden of about 126 percent of gross domestic product — behind only Greece and Italy.

(BBC) EU to launch counter-tariffs against US on Friday


Levi jeansImage copyrightDEVAKI KNOWLES
Image captionThe EU will target emblematic US exports such as blue jeans

The European Union will launch a raft of retaliatory tariffs against US exports on Friday, a top official has said.

The move comes after US President Donald Trump imposed steep duties on steel and aluminium earlier this month.

American exports such as blue jeans, motorbikes and bourbon whiskey will be targeted, trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom confirmed.

However, she said the bloc “did not want to be in this position”.

“The unilateral and unjustified decision of the US to impose steel and aluminium tariffs on the EU means that we are left with no other choice,” she said.

Brussels drew up the list of products in March when Mr Trump initially proposed the 25% tariffs on steel imports and 10% on aluminium, which also target Canada, Mexico and other close US allies.

Cranberries, orange juice, sweetcorn and peanut butter are among the other goods targeted.

It comes amid an intensifying row over trade between the US and its partners.

Steel chart

On Tuesday, Mr Trump threatened to impose duties on an additional $200bn (£151bn) of Chinese goods after hitting $50bn of products with tariffs.

He said the 10% duties would come into effect if China “refuses to change its practices”.

However, China accused the US of “blackmail” and said it would “fight back firmly”, raising fears of a full-blown trade war.

How did this start?

Mr Trump announced plans for tariffs on foreign steel and aluminium in March, justifying them on national security grounds.

He has argued that global oversupply of steel and aluminium, driven by China, threatens American steel and aluminium producers, which are vital to the US.

Since the announcement, South Korea, Argentina, Australia and Brazil have agreed to put limits on the volume of metals they can ship to the US in lieu of tariffs.

But Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the tariffs were an “affront” and the EU called them “deeply disappointing”.

A worker at German steel manufacturer Salzgitter AG stands in front of a furnace at a plant in Salzgitter, Germany, March 1, 2018Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionThe EU has called US imports on steel “deeply disappointing”

On Friday, Ms Malstrom called the EU response proportionate and in line with World Trade Organization rules. She said that counter-measures would be removed if Washington removed its metal tariffs.

EU steel and aluminium exports now facing US tariffs are worth a total of €6.4bn (£5.6bn).

(WSJ) The Force Behind Europe’s Populist Tide: Frustrated Young Adults

(WSJStruggling to find jobs, and often living at home, younger generations are propelling antiestablishment parties to new heights of power

A youth revolt is upending Italian politics, and it could be a harbinger of things to come.

Western Europe’s largest antiestablishment government came to power earlier this month, driven largely by young Italian voters. Struggling with a persistent lack of job prospects over the past decade, they voted in droves for two parties in the country’s March 4 elections, the 5 Star Movement and the League, an anti-immigration party.

The result laid bare a stark generation gap, with older Italians, who often have to support their grown children, continuing to vote for mainstream parties.

The same pattern appears across southern Europe, and the forces behind the divide show few signs of slowing. Almost 30% of Italians age 20 to 34 aren’t working, studying or in a training program, according to Eurostat, more than in any other European Union country. Greece is second at 29%, while Spain’s rate is 21%.

“Italy is collapsing and yet nothing has changed in this country for at least 30 years,” said Carlo Gaetani, a self-employed engineer in Puglia. Ten years ago, when he was in his early 20s, he voted for a center-left party that he hoped would push for economic development in southern Italy. When Italy descended into a crippling recession, he felt betrayed by the traditional Italian left-wing parties. He has seen friends struggle to find jobs, and said his own business opportunities are limited to the stagnant private sector, because commissions for the public sector are usually awarded to people with connections he doesn’t have.

Mr. Gaetani, now 33, voted for 5 Star in the 2013 election, a choice he repeated in March with more conviction. “5 Star is our last hope. If they also fail, I think I’ll stop voting,” he said.

The employment rate of Italians under 40 fell every year from 2007 to 2014 before flatlining over the past three years, according to Eurostat. Meanwhile, it has risen every year for those between 55 and 64 years, in part due to an increase in the retirement age.

The number of Italians under 34 in absolute poverty—defined as being unable to afford basic goods and services—more than doubled between 2010 and 2016 to 10%, according to the Italian National Institute of Statistics, or Istat. For those over 65, it dropped to 3.8% from 5.4%.

One major problem in southern Europe is a dual employment system in which people with open-ended contracts—often older workers—enjoy ironclad job security and benefits. At the same time, during the downturn, employers began to use more short-term contracts, generally lasting from one month to a year. In Italy, 62% of contracts for those under age 25 were short-term in 2017, up from a quarter in 2000.

Italian policy makers introduced the contracts in the 1990s in part to help young people enter the labor force as a step to permanent work. Employers used them to avoid the cost and hassle involved in firing people. Echoing labor overhauls elsewhere in Europe, Italy introduced a major revamp of work rules in 2014 and 2015 that tried to get employers to use more open-ended contracts, including billions of euros in tax breaks. The most generous breaks expired in 2016.

The efforts didn’t have the desired effect of creating structural change to the labor market that would wean employers off using short-term contracts. In 2016, when the tax breaks were in place, only 13% of new hires were on short-term contracts. Last year, more than four out of five new hires were on short-term contracts, according to Istat.

The 5 Star Movement has lured millions of young voters with promises to roll back new labor rules, give the unemployed and poor a so-called universal basic income of €780 ($905) a month, and abolish unpaid apprenticeship contracts. Its leader, Luigi Di Maio, was a 26-year-old university dropout who lived with his parents when he was elected to parliament in 2013. Today, he is a deputy prime minister.

The League also made canceling the recent labor revamp a central part of its electoral platform.

Italy’s economic problems played into young voters’ sentiments about immigration during the campaign as well, one of the animating drivers of support for the League. “We can’t host all of Africa,” said Gianluca Taburchi, a 23-year old supermarket employee from Perugia who voted for the League. “We already have our own problems. We have lots of unemployment and unsecure jobs.”

Matteo Salvini, the leader of the League who became a deputy prime minister and interior minister in the new government, promised to return hundreds of thousands of migrants to their countries of origin. 5 Star, which straddles the line on many issues, spoke of stemming illegal immigration, but stopped short of calling for mass deportations.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, center, with Deputy Prime Ministers Luigi Di Maio and Matteo Salvini, at the Italian Parliament on June 6.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, center, with Deputy Prime Ministers Luigi Di Maio and Matteo Salvini, at the Italian Parliament on June 6. PHOTO: ETTORE FERRARI/EPA/SHUTTERSTOCK

About 53% of Italians under 35 voted for the two parties combined, according to an Ipsos poll. About 43% of Italians over 65 voted for legacy center-right and center-left parties, while only 28% of young Italians did.

Elsewhere, almost 40% of Spaniards under 35 said in an April poll they would vote for far-left Podemos and its political allies in a coming election. In Greece, more than 41% of those age 18 to 24 voted for Syriza in the 2015 election, six points more than the antiestablishment party got across all age groups.

Argyro Maltasoglou, 30, said she voted for Syriza in the 2015 election because she thought the upstart party would make radical changes, especially in terms of policies to help young people. Since graduating from college in 2013, she has been bouncing between short-term contracts lasting less than a year. She has been looking for a job since her short-term contract as a secretary in an Athens hospital expired in March.

The job paid €500 a month, the most Ms. Maltasoglou has earned so far. She has had to accept money from her parents to get by. “This isn’t what I dreamed of when I was studying,” she said. “I would like to have a family, but I wouldn’t dare to think about it now under these conditions.”

One exception to the generational phenomenon is the U.K.’s 2016 vote to leave the EU: 71% of voters age 18 to 24 voted for the country to remain in the bloc, according to a poll by YouGov. Only 26% of those 65 and over voted to remain.

Supporters of the League marched in a rally on Feb. 24.
Supporters of the League marched in a rally on Feb. 24. PHOTO: MIGUEL MEDINA/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

Studies following the Brexit vote showed that, in this case, young Britons valued the increased ease of working, studying and traveling abroad that EU membership brings. At the same time, many older voters viewed leaving the EU as an opportunity for the U.K. to better control immigration.

The pain in southern Europe reflects a feeling across much of the Western world that the younger generation will struggle to surpass their parents in wealth and security. Half of Italians who responded last year to an online survey on jobs site said they thought they will earn less over their careers than their parents.

Young Italians, who bore the brunt of the country’s protracted, triple-dip recession, still bear the scars that will affect their career prospects, homeownership and birthrates for decades to come.

Banks are reluctant to lend to people on short-term contracts, which has helped push up the average age of home buyers to 41.6 years in 2017 from 39.4 years in 2012, according to Fabiana Megliola, head of research for real estate group Tecnocasa. In 2017, 56% of home buyers in Italy were under 45, down 10 percentage points from five years.

The number of Italians getting married has fallen by a fifth over the past decade, according to Istat. In 2016, the last year for which data are available, Italian men got married on average at age 35 and women at 32, in both cases two years later than in 2008. Births hit an all-time low last year.

In a country with strong family ties, parents are stepping in to help adult children. They can often afford to help because they enjoy pensions that are the fruit of decades of generous retirement benefits. Italy spends more than 15% of its economic output on pensions, the most in Europe except Greece.

About half of Italians age 25 to 34 live with their parents, according to Eurostat, almost double the European average and more than in any other Western European country. The number has risen 3 percentage points in the past decade. And more than a third of Italians in their 30s get economic help from their parents or grandparents, according to a survey by agricultural industry association Coldiretti and polling firm Ixè.

Parties such as 5 Star could continue to win over more young voters if they are able to enact some of the pro-youth policies its leaders campaigned on. “I’m not interested in politics because nobody on either side [of the political spectrum] is doing much to help young people,” said Giada Gramanzini, a 29-year-old Italian university graduate. She hasn’t found a steady job since deciding not to renew a three-month contract as a full-time receptionist that paid her about $2.70 an hour. Last year, she moved back in with her retired parents and sent out more than 70 resumes before moving to New York last month to try her luck in another country.

In the March election she voted for a small pro-European party, in what she called a protest against the Democratic Party—the center-left party that ruled the past five years. She didn’t feel 5 Star was ready to govern.

Her father, Emilio, collects a good pension after working most of his career for the Naples municipal administration. Her mother, Daniela, began working full time at 20 and was employed by the city for several decades. She retired last year.

Giada Gramanzini with her father, Emilio.
Giada Gramanzini with her father, Emilio. PHOTO: GIOVANNI CIPRIANO FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Daniela worries about the late start Giada is getting on adult life. “How can you not be worried about your daughter if at 29 she still hasn’t found her way?” she asks.

(EUoberver) Basque threat of ‘second front’ for independence


The human chain stretched over 200km from Donostia (known in Spanish as San Sebastian) to the Basque parliament in Gasteiz (Photo: Gure Esku dago)

Revellers packed the narrow streets of Bilbao’s old district, oblivious to the drizzle as live music reverberated throughout parts of the Casco Viejo neighbourhood.

Earlier that day, most had joined a 200km human chain of 175,000 people demanding the Basque country be given a “right to decide” in its future relations with Madrid.

“We want to decide on whether we want an independent, federal, or confederal state, or any other type of relationship,” said Angel Oiarbide.

Oiarbide is spokesman of a movement known as the Gure Esku Dago (Basque for ‘It’s In Our Hands’), which had organised the human chain on Sunday 10 June.

He told this website that Sunday’s procession is feeding into a current Basque parliament debate that aims to create a new political status for the region.

The move comes over a week after Spain’s prime minister Mariano Rajoy stepped down in disgrace amid widespread corruption charges within his conservative Popular Party (PP).

Spanish socialist leader Pedro Sanchez had managed to cobble together a coalition of smaller groups, including Basque nationalists and Catalan separatists, to oust Rajoy from office in a no-confidence vote.

It also comes after the Basque Eta separatist group officially disbanded and apologised for killing some 800 people over its four-decade armed struggle.

But Oiarbide insisted that the Gure Esku Dago, as well as Sunday’s procession, are unconcerned by the wider political change in Madrid – saying their work is unaffected by who is in power at the Spanish capital.

“We, alongside the Catalan people, shall continue working on the creation of a democratic culture in our countries,” he said.

The response from Madrid over the Basque demonstration appears more subdued.

Spanish minister of territorial policy, Meritxell Batet, in a Spanish radio interview said the government was not opposed to the demonstration and is open to dialogue with everyone.

“I respect it and do not have much else to add. I hope that political tension will be reduced everywhere,” she said noting, however, that self-determination for the Spanish regions is not a part of the government’s programme.

The issue is making others nervous, including the president of the Committee of the Regions, Karl-Heinz Lambertz.

Lambertz had arrived in Bilbao a few days after Sunday’s march to take part in an event organised by Council of European Municipalities and Regions.

Citizen is ‘final judge’?

The same day he met with president of the Basque government, telling EUobserver that questions of autonomy and independence are decisions that belong to the people and their political representatives.

“It is necessary that the final judge of all this is happy, and who is the ‘final judge’? It is [the] citizen. That is something we sometimes forget in this debate,” he said.

With broad oversight over its fiscal and tax collection policies, the Basques have more autonomy from Madrid compared with Catalonia.

But not everyone in the Basque country is seeking independence from Spain. One poll, carried out by the university of Deusto late last year, suggested only 17 percent support independence.

Those figures are however disputed by Gorka Elejabarrieta, who heads the international department of Sortu, a Basque socialist political party.

“Ever since Franco died the absolute majority of people in this country [the Basque country] voted for parties that stand for independence,” he said.

Elejabarrieta, himself an advocate for independence, says they have nothing against Spain or Spanish people but warned that a second front, after Catalonia’s push for independence, is on the rise.

He said people want the right to have an open debate on the issue, noting similar movements in Scotland and Denmark’s Faroe Islands where the discussions were allowed to take place without the state jailing politicians.

“We want to open a second front within the Spanish state and we want to bring our process to the same situation where the Catalan process is,” he said.

(ECO) BCE termina estímulos no final do ano. Reduz compras para metade a partir de setembro

(ECOBCE anunciou hoje que vai reduzir as compras de dívida pública na Zona Euro para 15 mil milhões de euros por mês a partir de setembro, se inflação estiver robusta. Estímulos terminam no final do ano.

Banco Central Europeu (BCE) vai reduzir as compras de dívida pública na Zona Euro de 30 mil milhões de euros para 15 mil milhões de euros por mês a partir de setembro, isto se a taxa de inflação estiver em linha com o seu objetivo. Depois disso, o programa de estímulos monetários terminará no final do ano. Já os juros vão continuar em mínimos históricos até ao verão do próximo ano.

As decisões foram conhecidas esta quinta-feira, após nova reunião de política monetária do banco central liderado por Mario Draghi, que teve lugar em Riga, Letónia.

Está em marcha a normalização da política monetária na Zona Euro, depois do programa agressivo de compras de dívida ter adquirido mais de dois biliões de euros em obrigações desde março de 2015. No fundo, o BCE vai deixar de comprar dívida já no início do próximo ano e, a partir daí, apenas os reinvestimentos (com dinheiro dos títulos que foram vencendo) vão ajudar a conter os juros na região, um cenário que já era esperado pelos analistas. .

Adicionalmente, apesar de ter mantido os juros nesta reunião, o BCE deixou uma nova orientação quanto ao rumo das taxas na região nos próximos tempos. E os juros em mínimos vão continuar durante mais um ano, antecipa o banco central.

“O Conselho de Governadores espera que as taxas diretoras do BCE continuem nos seus atuais níveis até, pelo menos, ao verão de 2019 e, em qualquer caso, durante o tempo que for necessário para assegurar que a evolução da inflação permaneça alinhada com as expectativas atuais de um ajustamento sustentado da trajetória”, afirma a autoridade em comunicado.

Atualmente, a taxa de juro de referência, que determina o custo do crédito na economia da Zona Euro, está nos 0,0%. Já as taxas de juro dos depósitos no banco central permaneceram nos -0,4%.

Daqui a pouco, quando foram 13h30 em Lisboa, Mario Draghi vai comparecer perante os jornalistas para explicar as decisões tomadas esta quinta-feira. E são vários os pontos de interesse para acompanhar. O italiano vai apresentar novas projeções para a evolução da economia do bloco do euro. Além disso, a instabilidade política em Itália também deverá merecer a atenção da imprensa. Mas o tema central deverá ser mesmo o programa de compras de dívida pública.

(Politico) Italian PM breaks with EU, backs Trump’s call for Russia to return to G8


LA MALBAIE, Canada — Italy’s new prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, broke sharply with the EU on Friday at his first international summit, and joined U.S. President Donald Trump’s call for Russia to be reinstated to the exclusive club of industrialized nations.

Trump called for Russia’s reinstatement as he left the White House to travel to the G7 leaders’ meeting in Quebec.

The Western powers and Japan ejected Russia from the G8 in 2014 in response to the Kremlin’s invasion, and subsequent annexation, of Crimea.

Conte posted his support for Trump’s view on Twitter, apparently between meetings with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. It’s unclear if Tusk or Juncker were aware of Conte’s statement before their meetings.

At a news conference, Tusk and Juncker mostly sidestepped questions about Conte’s position, saying they expected there would be overall agreement on Russia policy. But they also pushed back on Trump’s suggestion that Russia rejoin the club.

“I see a lot of speculation about G6 plus 1 or G7 minus 1, or G7 plus one,” Tusk said. “But let’s leave seven as it is. It’s a lucky number. At least in our culture.”

Tusk added that the G7 faced enough obstacles in their quest for unified positions without adding Russia back into the mix. Juncker, meanwhile, noted that EU leaders were re-engaging Russia in other formats, such as a recent economic forum in St. Petersburg attended by French President Emmanuel Macron.

But he said Russia still had to be held accountable for its actions.

“As we see it, Russia is in violation of international law because of its annexation of Crimea, equally because of what it has done in the east of Ukraine,” Juncker said. “Over and above that, of course, there are good reasons leaving these factors aside to renew our relationship with Russia and this is something which we intend to do,” he said. “I expect that it will be something we discuss.”

“But,” he added, “we need to take a stand against an aggressive approach and aggressive action on the part of Russia.”

Since Russia’s ejection, Western nations, including the U.S. and all EU countries, have been unified in the need to maintain economic sanctions and other pressure on Russia over its military intervention in Ukraine, in Crimea and in the eastern Donbas region, where the Kremlin continues to support an armed insurgency.

Other G7 powers have not indicated any willingness to ease the pressure on Russia.

Conte’s statement adds further diplomatic chaos to the G7 leaders’ summit, which was already descending into a chaotic war of words on Twitter. Trump on Thursday lashed out at the summit host, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and French President Emmanuel Macron, who criticized Trump for imposing unilateral tariffs on steel and aluminum.

While Trump was still traveling, and expected to arrive late at the summit, his comment calling for Russia to be reinstated is certain to further inflame tensions in Quebec.

On the South Lawn of the White House, Trump claimed to be Putin’s worst nightmare but then said “Russia should be in this meeting. Why are we having a meeting without Russia being in the meeting? And I would recommend, and it’s up to them, but Russia should be in the meeting. They should be a part of it.

“You know, whether you like it or not — and it may not be politically correct — but we have a world to run. And in the G7, which used to be the G8, they threw Russia out. They should let Russia come back in. Because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.” It was unclear what negotiation Trump had in mind.

A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov, who was on an official trip to China, told reporters Russia was focused “on other formats.”

Other G7 powers have not indicated any willingness to ease the pressure on Russia, and the EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, has worked hard to maintain unity on the issue in Brussels.

Conte’s statement will be especially problematic for Mogherini, who is Italian.

The first draft of the contract drawn up between the two parties in Conte’s government — the far-right League and the anti-establishment 5 Star Movement — contained a line calling for the end of Russian sanctions “immediately.” The text was amended in later versions.

In his first speech in the Italian parliament this week, Conte said that Italy remains a committed NATO partner but he added that “we will promote a revising of sanctions, starting with those that demean Russia’s civil society.”

Yet he didn’t indicate whether this should take place ‘immediately.” That’s because Rome has not yet decided whether to veto the rolling over of the sanctions during a meeting of EU leaders at the end of the month.

“We have to think about it,” said the League’s leader Matteo Salvini on Thursday at a reception at the Russian embassy in Rome.

Russia had been scheduled to host the G8 summit in 2014, and was planning to hold the leaders’ gathering in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, which was also the site of the Winter Olympics that year. Instead, officials quickly rescheduled the G7 summit for Brussels, the capital of the European Union, which participates in both the G7 and the G20 but normally does not host summits. Russian remains a part of the G20.

An international investigative team led by the Netherlands recently announced that a Malaysian Airlines passenger jet, flight MH17, that was shot down over eastern Ukraine in 2014 was destroyed by a Russian missile supplied by a specific military unit in southern Russia. And France and Germany, the main architects of the Minsk 2 peace accord between Russia and Ukraine, have consistently reported no substantive progress in implementation of the agreement by Russia.

Putin has continued to deny any Russian role in the MH17 incident, in which all the passengers were killed. Putin initially denied that Russian military forces had invaded Crimea but later acknowledged that they had done so, and even bestowed awards on soldiers who participated in the operation.