Daily Archives: November 21, 2011

For the unfortunate diplomats locked in the Justus Lipsius council building all of Friday and into Saturday morning, the European Union’s 2012 budget negotiations were an arduous affair. Upon emerging, one groggy diplomat lamented “an evening I can never get back.”

But to the union at large, the remarkable thing about the talks was how easily they went down.

For those who missed the news early Saturday morning, representatives from the EU’s 27 member states, the European parliament and the European commission agreed on a 2.02 per cent increase in next year’s budget, bringing it to €129bn.

That was well below the 5.23 per cent sought by MEPs, and the 4.9 per cent recommended by the commission. Read more

One week, two policy retreats. Things are not going too well at the moment for Michel Barnier, Europe’s top financial regulator.

First he came unstuck on his credit rating agency reforms, as his fellow European commissioners mounted an revolt over proposed powers to ban sovereign ratings on bailout countries. The result was a last-minute climbdown.

Then, just two days later, some of the same Commission rebels were expressing strong reservations about a separate proposal to break the grip of the Big Four accounting firms. This time around Barnier is offering up his concessions early - at least one of the most controversial measures in the audit proposals will likely be dropped. Read more