CrisisWatch

WWF maps “blue Gold Rush” in the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean region is currently facing impressive growth, a real “blue Gold Rush”, which has gained speed during the ongoing economic crisis. Without a long-term vision for sustainable development, the Mediterranean Sea will not be able to sustain the region’s economies and human wellbeing.

 

MedTrends, an analysis recently published by WWF on the development trends in the Mediterranean, provides the first integrated picture of 10 key economic maritime activities in Croatia, Cyprus, France, Italy, Greece, Malta, Slovenia, and Spain. With a view to 2030, MedTrends illustrates and maps the current status, future development trends and the environmental impacts (to 2030) of maritime transport, tourism, oil and gas, aquaculture, fisheries, mining, coastal development, renewable energy, and land-based pollution.

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Policy highlights - June 2015

1.     European Commission (ECFIN), Statement by the European Commission and the ECB following the second post-programme surveillance mission to Portugal (March 2015)

Economic and financial conditions in Portugal have further improved since the conclusion of the first post-programme surveillance mission in autumn 2014. However, the economic recovery continues to be held back by the remaining macroeconomic imbalances. While the authorities reiterated their commitment to budgetary consolidation, efforts to reduce the underlying structural budget deficit need to continue. The structural reforms undertaken during the financial assistance programme are increasingly having an effect. Nevertheless, the reform agenda to further enhance medium-term growth prospects, job creation and competitiveness remains challenging.”

  

2.     European Commission (ECFIN), New Excessive Deficit Procedure steps published (18 May 2015)

 

Overview of ongoing excessive deficit procedures

Country

Date of the Commission report (Art.104.3/126.3)

Council Decision on existence of excessive deficit Art.104.6/126.6)

Current deadline for correction

Croatia

15 November 2013

21 January 2014

2016

Malta

21 May 2013

21 June 2013

2014

Cyprus

12 May 2010

13 July 2010

2016

Portugal

7 October 2009

2 December 2009

2015

Slovenia

7 October 2009

2 December 2009

2015

Poland

13 May 2009

7 July 2009

2015

France

18 February 2009

27 April 2009

2017

Ireland

18 February 2009

27 April 2009

2015

Greece

18 February 2009

27 April 2009

2016

Spain

18 February 2009

27 April 2009

2016

UK

11 June 2008

8 July 2008

financial year 2014/15

 

3.     European Commission, Five Presidents' Report sets out plan for strengthening Europe's Economic and Monetary Union as of 1 July 2015 (22 June 2015)

What’s in the Five Presidents’ Report concretely?

1. Towards an Economic Union of convergence, growth and jobs

2. Towards Financial Union

3. Towards Fiscal Union

4. Strengthening Democratic Accountability, Legitimacy and Institutions: From Rules to Institutions

5. The Social dimension of EMU

 

Next Steps: This report has put forward the principal steps necessary to complete EMU at the latest by 2025. The first initiatives should be launched by the EU institutions as of 1 July 2015. To prepare the transition between Stages 1 and 2, the Commission – in consultation with the Presidents of the other EU institutions – will present a "White Paper" in Spring 2017, assessing progress made in Stage 1 and outlining next steps needed. It will discuss the legal, economic and political preconditions of the more far-reaching measures necessary to complete EMU in Stage 2, and will draw on analytical input from an expert consultation group. Translating the Five Presidents’ report into laws and institutions should begin without delay.”

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Policy highlights - May 2014

1.  European Commission-ECFIN: Statement by Vice-President Kallas on Portugal (17 May 2014) 

“After Ireland and Spain, Portugal is the third euro area country to successfully graduate from its financial assistance programme. While this is a cause for celebration, there is no cause for complacency. To deliver a more robust recovery and bring down the still unacceptably high level of unemployment, it will be essential to maintain an unwavering commitment to sound budgetary policies and growth-enhancing reforms in the months and years ahead.”

 

2.  European Commission-ECFIN: Preparation of Economic and Financial Ministers Council, Brussels (2 May 2014)

“From the examined countries the Commission found imbalances in fourteen Member States (Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, France, Hungary, The Netherlands, Finland, Sweden and the United-Kingdom) while imbalances were not identified in three Member States (Denmark, Luxembourg and Malta). From the countries with imbalances, in three cases they were found to be excessive (Croatia, Italy and Slovenia). On 5 March, Vice-President Rehn said: "Overall, macroeconomic imbalances, which built up over many years, are gradually receding, but at the same time new concerns have arisen, which require closer attention. This is reflected in the Commission's conclusions on the 17 Member States under scrutiny."”

 

3.  European Commission: Spring 2014 forecast: Growth becoming broader-based (5 May 2014)

Country economic forecasts for EU-28.

 

4.     European Commission-Representation in Cyprus (conference): Environmental Tax Reform in Times of Economic Crisis: What Are the Prospects? (6 June 2014)

“Governments across Europe need to raise revenue to pay off debt and reduce deficits. At the same time they are committed to implement EU legislation. Member States will be asked to pursue the implementation of structural reforms and to consolidate public finances in a growth-friendly way, i.e. by promoting the EU resource efficiency roadmap.  ¶ Environmental Taxes are key for a cost-effective fiscal consolidation. European states generate most of their revenues by levying taxes on labour and income. At the same time, activities causing environmental degradation and depletion of scarce natural resources (such as consumption of electricity, fuels and water as well as production of waste) account for a small fraction of government finances. This endangers economic growth and employment while rewarding over-exploitation of natural resources. Environmental fiscal reform can correct this disparity by shifting the focus of government taxes from labour/income to environmentally harmful and resource-depleting activities.”

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