Daily Archives: July 8, 2009

From a European Union perspective, it’s somewhat surprising that the extraordinary financial crisis we’ve been living through has not generated more pressure for another big push at EU integration – if not in the political sphere, then at least in the economic one.  According to conventional EU wisdom, it usually takes a crisis to make Europeans understand why closer integration is a good thing.  But on this occasion, it’s not happening – or at least, not yet.

For the perfect explanation as to why this should be so, I recommend an article by Otmar Issing, the European Central Bank’s former chief economist, in the latest issue of the journal Europe’s World.  Issing’s article discusses the merits of issuing common bonds for the 16-nation eurozone – an initiative that would, in theory, mark a major step forward in European integration – and comes down firmly against the proposal. 

Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy call for an end to “dangerously volatile” oil prices. “The oil market is complex,” they acknowledge in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, “but such erratic price movement in one of the world’s most crucial commodities is a growing cause for alarm”. They call on regulators to “consider improving transparency and supervision of the oil futures markets to reduce damaging speculation”.

The Times says Mr Sarkozy’s wife, the Italian-born Carla Bruni, won’t be joining the “first wives” at the G8 events in Romein an apparent snub to Silvio Berlusconi, the meeting’s host. “Relations between the model [Bruni] and the billionaire [Berlusconi] soured earlier this year after Mr Berlusconi reportedly boasted to her husband, Nicolas Sarkozy, that he “gave” him his wife. Mr Berlusconi denied the comment.”