Press

Herman Van Rompuy: The man who wants to control your finances

Katinka Barysch
15 November 2010
The Telegraph
Since coming to power, Cameron has been mending fences with Merkel and Sarkozy, after his provocative decision in opposition to stop sitting with their parties in the European Parliament. Adopting Persson’s advice to "play politics" with economic governance, an issue that affects the eurozone more than Britain, would "antagonise" our partners all over again, says Katinka Barysch, deputy director of the Centre for European Reform think-tank. It would also, she says, "damage Britain's own interests.

Bail-out fund stands by for first big test

12 November 2010
Financial Times
But Simon Tilford, chief economist at the London-based Centre for European Reform, said the shifting sentiment signaled by Ms Merkel's stance has overwhelmed the temporary calm. "The fact that [the EFSF] is there means they're in a better position than they were in late April or early May [at the height of concerns over Greece], but it doesn't change anything fundamental," Mr Tilford said.

France takes the lead of G-20

11 November 2010
Voice of America
That's partly why experts like Simon Tilford, chief economist at the Centre for European Reform in London, are skeptical about Mr Sarkozy's goals. "I think he's hoping that taking on the G20, G8 will bolster his international credentials ... I think that could prove a bit of a forlorn hope. He's taking over at a time of considerable international tension. It's been a long time since we've seen such big differences on positons of key issues among the world's leading economies."...

Fewer dragons, more snakes

11 November 2010
The Economist
In a paper published earlier this year [Germany opens Pandora's box] by the Centre for European Reform, a think-tank in London, George Robertson (a former NATO secretary-general), Franklin Miller and Kori Schake (defence policy experts who served in the Bush administration) argued that Germany was opening a Pandora's box by trying to provoke a debate on matters that had long been considered settled.

Sarkozy signs the law: French retire at 62, not 60

10 November 2010
CBS News
Simon Tilford, chief economist at the Centre for European Reform in London, says Sarkozy "had no choice" other than to get the reform through because otherwise France's - and his - credibility would have suffered. "For anyone outside of France, this looks like a pretty modest move forward ... Other EU countries are moving much much more rapidly" on pension reform. France has the highest life expectancy in Europe but still one of the lowest retirement ages, prompting Tilford to predict that retirement issues will come up again before markets believe that France has its finances in order.

The peril that NATO can't ignore

Clara Marina O'Donnell
10 November 2010
New York Times
"EU countries have 89 different weapons programs, while the US, whose budget is more than twice the size of the EU's defence budgets combined, has only 27," said Clara Marina O'Donnell, research fellow at the Centre for European Reform in London. "The main challenge for NATO is that Europe, given its lack of defence capabilities and funds, is not using this chance for greater cooperation, however urgently it is needed." This fragmentation of Europe's defence markets has proved expensive and inefficient.

Why Germany is not a model for Europe

Philip Whyte
10 November 2010
Der Tagesspiel
Germany's economy has been winning numerous plaudits of late. It is not hard to see why. Previously much-vaunted economies "Ireland, Spain, the UK and the US, to name just four" lived way beyond their means for far too long.

What we talk about when we talk about Germany

05 November 2010
Financial Times
Charles Grant, director of the Centre for European Reform, has a nice summary of the debate up on his group's website, with some telling insights about the mood in France over the recent bluster from Berlin ... But Mr Grant also points out how destabilising even the narrowly-focused treaty changes envisioned by the 27 countries could be. Even if Ireland and Denmark are able to avoid referenda on the new language - which could be just a sentence or two added to the Lisbon treaty - other countries could cause problems, Mr Grant notes.

EU eyes tougher regulation for credit rating agencies

Philip Whyte
05 November 2010
Deutsche Welle
"The financial crisis did expose a number of problems with ratings agencies, including major conflicts of interest," Philip Whyte, a senior research fellow at the Centre for European Reform, told Deutsche Welle. "The people that were paying credit rating agencies were the same people whose securities were being rated. There's also been a certain amount of disquiet about the power that ratings agencies have," he added.

Europe fears Obama reverse will hurt ties with US

03 November 2010
Khaleej Times
Ahead of his White House victory two years ago, "people sort of idealistically believed Obama will get in and all will be fine, that there'd be progress on issues such as climate, tensions, trade," said Hugo Brady at the Centre for European Reform. "None of these hopes have been fulfilled...Apart from moral underpinnings, there hasn't been a great deal of improvement."

Shift in Washington stirs economic jitters abroad

03 November 2010
New York Times
From the perspective of those outside the United States, "Republican claims to fiscal probity are a little difficult to buy into," said Simon Tilford, the chief economist at the Centre for European Reform in London. "What they're advocating would probably increase the deficit rather than effect the dramatic reduction which they claim they want to bring about."

David Cameron's budget fight remains an EU sideshow

Katinka Barysch
29 October 2010
The Guardian
David Cameron has won his first European victory. At this week's EU summit in Brussels, he seemingly persuaded a dozen other European leaders to back his demand to limit to 2.9% next year's EU spending increase. Britain's eurosceptics wanted a freeze or a reduction.

EU sets sights on treaty change

29 October 2010
Reuters
"If the biggest country in the EU wants something, it's probably not unrealistic to say that it's going to get it," said Hugo Brady, a political analyst at the Centre for European Reform think-tank.

Cameron's EU austerity drive: Mixed results

Philip Whyte
29 October 2010
Time
All this leaves Cameron's campaign looking more like a symbolic gesture to bolster the austerity drive in the UK, says Philip Whyte, Senior Research Fellow at the London-based think-tank the Centre for European Reform. "The size of the EU budget is peanuts. But whatever the reasons—good or otherwise—to raise the EU budget, it is a difficult sell back home ... Unfortunately, the substance in this issue is often overlooked in Britain, where political debates on Europe are generally reduced to an 'us and them' approach."

Germany makes its power felt on treaty change

29 October 2010
Reuters
"To achieve that sort of reversal, especially when almost every other member state except France was fuming about how this was being carried out, is a clear diplomatic victory for the Germans," said Hugo Brady, a senior research fellow at the Centre for European Reform, a think-tank. … "It shows that if the biggest country in the European Union wants something, it's probably not unrealistic to think that it's going to get it. … There was a very simple strategy deployed by Germany," said Brady, referring to its brinkmanship.

Russia's WTO conundrum

Katinka Barysch
27 October 2010
Financial Times
Katinka Barysch, deputy director of the Centre for European Reform agrees, but takes a glass-half-full approach: "[Russia's] elite benefits so handsomely from the current structure that I'm not even sure thorough economic reform is possible. But in an economy that is as inefficient as Russia's, even small changes can make a big difference."

Paris and Berlin at odds over default system

Katinka Barysch
25 October 2010
Financial Times
"For the French, sovereignty is absolute, so a state cannot go bankrupt," said Katinka Barysch, deputy director of the Centre for European Reform, a think-tank. "They do, of course. There are plenty of history precedents. But to plan for it may seem harder for the French than for Germany's legalistic minds."

Euro-fighter phalanx is crumbling

Katinka Barysch
25 October 2010
wiwo.de
Almost half a year after the dramatic crisis meetings in Brussels, many EU capitals are tempted to move on to business as usual. "There is a risk that complacency sets in before a sustainable new framework has been created," says Katinka Barysch from the CER think-tank in London.

French support means attempt at alteration of Lisbon Treaty possible

22 October 2010
New York Times
Charles Grant, director of the Centre for European Reform, said that if there was a treaty change "there is a danger that other countries will jump on the bandwagon and introduce their pet likes and dislikes. ...Hopefully the French and Germans and the EU institutions will insist on this being a very narrow and specific treaty change on eurozone governance that would allow Cameron to face down the Conservative Eurosceptics," Mr Grant said.

The rise of the Euro-punks

22 October 2010
E!Sharp
Recently I attended an off-the-record Brussels “think-in” where a very prominent European politician wondered out loud what the future would be for the EU now that his children’s generation were taking the reins.
“People talk about a lack of political leadership in Europe but there are deeper factors at work,” he...