The EP wants to stay in Brussels, Weber withdraws, Barroso claims relevance and border issues

A quick post with some highlights of the news:

So the European Parliament was at it again… They are fed up of having to move to Strasbourg once a month, and rightfully so. As they so often do, they are protesting and threatening to boycott the transit. As usual, France reminded them that they were constitutionally mandated by treaty law to do the transit, thus sadly putting an end to another debate on the waste that member states impose on the EU.

Earlier last week, Axel Weber, the present president of the Bundesbank, was reported to no longer be in the run for either a second mandate at the Bundesbank or a first mandate at the ECB. This was a bit of an embarrassment for Angela Merkel who has had to probably put out some fires whenever her central banker has come out to criticise the ECB’s Governing Council decisions. Mr Weber later confirmed these rumours in an interview to Der Spiegel. According to the FT he argued that the “political reactions to his “clear positions” on important ECB decisions, such as his opposition against the purchase of government bonds, had spurred his reluctance to follow Mr Trichet(…) “The ECB is the bulwark for stability in Europe … The president has a special position in all this. But if he advocates a minority opinion on essential questions, the credibility of his office suffers,” he argued. Thus a man who did much to undermine the ECB resigned from his position in order to not be forced by his Chancellor to undermine it further. Quite statesman-like. (Updated 16/02/2011 from here) In the mean time, the race for Trichet’s successor Continues. Likkanen or Draghi, place your bets.

Moreover, amidst fears of a two tiered or two speed Europe, Barroso has found something akin to a voice as he vowed to defend the EU from intergovernmentalism and fight for the Community method of policy making and reform at the EU level. This is basically Eurospeak for what Mario Monti said last friday at a Policy Network event on the future of Europe. So far, both ALDE (through its federalist leader Guy Verhofstadt) and Poland have both stood by Barroso. If more were to heed his call, may be this trend could be pushed back. Until then however, Jose Manuel’s claims to relevance will remain just that: claims.

Finally, after Greece’s problems with its border patrolling and its refugee handling, now Italy requests more support from the EU to assist it in handling migrants from North Africa. More and more EU member states are requesting each others’ assistance on these issues. Keep this in mind for future debates of European Defence integration as soon as the sovereign debt crisis is over…

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