Cameron's first 100 days

Philip Whyte
17 August 2010
"The question," Whyte says, "is whether this is the calm before the storm". Two ominous-looking clouds are gathering on the horizon: financial regulation and the EU budget... London is the largest financial centre in Europe. So ministers face a "difficult balancing act", according to Whyte, in which they want to clamp down on banks while avoiding damaging London's competitiveness. The hedge funds directive was a case in point. Then, Osborne accepted defeat. It may not always end the same way.

Der Härtetest kommt erst noch

Philip Whyte
16 August 2010
Deutschlands Wachstum im zweiten Quartal war außergewöhnlich. Das Wachstumstempo beizubehalten wird aber sehr schwierig, sagt Philip Whyte, vom Londoner Think-Tank Centre for European Reform.

EU must co-ordinate its defence needs

Clara Marina O'Donnell
15 August 2010
The Guardian
Most European countries are making drastic cuts to their defence spending. Several, including Britain, are contemplating giving up significant chunks of their military equipment.

Cameron's EU budget calls undermined

Philip Whyte
13 August 2010
Philip Whyte, senior research fellow at Centre for European Reform, warned that the arguments justifying Britain's ongoing rebate were being increasingly undermined, however. "This is a perennial issue on which the UK finds itself alone. The UK has a rebate under the EU budget. But the UK's position is becoming increasingly unstable." Mr Whyte warned that reforms of the common agricultural policy meant less and less of the EU budget was being spent on agriculture, the basis of Britain's rebate.

Stonehenge visitor centre, Berlin palace among projects put on hold thanks to big deficits

12 August 2010
Chicago Tribune
Economist Simon Tilford at the CER said the cumulative impact of several years of predicted weak growth "will be considerable over the next decade, 15 years," especially in physical infrastructure and education. "What I fear is that the cuts will be made in the wrong places," he said, and hurt "many of the things that make Europe a good place to do business and have a high standard of living."

Will new diplomatic service help EU to speak with one voice?

Clara Marina O'Donnell
24 July 2010
Radio Free Europe
"For the EU to be able to be a very effective actor abroad, it needs all of its member states to agree on the issue at stake -- be it what to do in Georgia or what to do with Russia," Clara O'Donnell, an analyst with the CER, explains. "And, secondly, it needs the member states to be willing to let the EU to speak on their behalf.

Europe's stress test ignoring default scenario

23 July 2010
But Simon Tilford of the Centre for European Reform says Europe's stress tests are ignoring one scenario that seems very real "the ability of the banks to cope with a sizable restructuring slash default in Greece and/or other eurozone member states". He says national defaults remains likely, but that isn't being tested.

As Germany's economy rebounds, anxiety prevails

23 July 2010
"If German wages are falling, falling by 1.5 percent, the Greeks and the Italians, etc., have to make sure that their wages fall by even more than that. Now, that spells slump or at least very, very weak growth. Very weak growth or slump is lethal for economies as indebted as these economies, because slump, deflation implies increases in the real value of debt." [Simon Tilford] warns that another giant obstacle to Germany's speedy recovery is what he calls the country's dangerous over-reliance on exports. ...

Tests of EU banks are a whitewash, some critics say

22 July 2010
Los Angeles Times
"It doesn't test the banks for what investors are fearful of," said Simon Tilford, chief economist at the Centre for European Reform in London. "Stress tests are the way to go, but of course the tests have to be tough enough.... I don't think these tests are of particularly enormous value."

Opportunity for EU sway in Ukraine

Katinka Barysch
21 July 2010
New York Times
"There is a massive sense of frustration in Brussels because no matter what the EU offers, it receives only empty promises by the Ukrainian authorities," said Katinka Barysch, deputy director of the Centre for European Reform in London.

Those work-shy Europeans

19 July 2010
In Europe, argues Simon Tilford, chief economist at the Centre for European Reform think tank, many let others foot the bill for their time off. For example by claiming, in the name of social justice, early retirement for which they have not paid contributions. It's absurd, he says. In the long run, Tilford continues, the European model of exchanging money for leisure time is in jeopardy. ... If Europeans succeed in growing their productivity, concludes Tilford, they can continue cultivating their love of leisure.

EU chief slates Obama's attitude to Europe

Philip Whyte
15 July 2010
Sky News
Philip Whyte from the Centre for European Reform told Sky News: "Essentially the Europeans feel as though they are being neglected...But if you look at the view from behind Obama's desk, Europe is not very high on his list of priorities. He has more pressing problems such as Iran, Afghanistan and China to deal with and, as far as he is concerned, Europe is not going to be much help in solving them so why invest time and energy in the relationship."

Barack Obama's relationship with Europe 'not living up to its potential'

15 July 2010
The Telegraph
Hugo Brady, of the Centre for European Reform, said: "Obama was always overblown as a symbol because US foreign policy interests tend not to change. The US does not understand the need for everyone to be around the table at the EU, which they find as frustrating as a mini-UN where people want to talk about the good things they have done."

Germany's euro advantage

13 July 2010
International Herald Tribune
Prior to the introduction of the euro, European economies running big trade deficits routinely devalued their currencies against the Deutschmark and other currencies tied to it. This prompted allegations of beggar-thy-neighbor activity and even calls for protectionism.

Could Russia join NATO?

Tomas Valasek
12 July 2010
The Economist
An interesting article by Tomas Valasek at the Centre for European Reform, a London think tank, looks at the pros and cons of Russia joining NATO, or at least changing its relationship with the alliance. He was one of a bunch of western security policy specialists invited by their Russian counterparts to discuss the issue. As he notes, the atmospherics have clearly changed in recent months. ... Another suggestion examined by Mr Valasek is that NATO and Russia should 'demilitarise' their relationship.

European security: Take China seriously

12 July 2010
In January 2010, Charles Grant of the Centre for European Reform noted that attitudes toward China were becoming "prickly".

Lunch with the FT: Baroness Ashton

09 July 2010
Financial Times
According to the Centre for European Reform, a pro-EU think tank, around 80 per cent of the EU's foreign policy failures are due to the inability of larger member states to arrive at a common position.... But Charles Grant, the CER's director, says creating a more effective institution to replace the confusing way foreign policy was split between the rotating presidency, the council of ministers and the commission, is overdue.

Europe puts limits on banker bonuses

Philip Whyte
07 July 2010
The Christian Science Monitor
"It's a directive and leaves some leeway to member states to implement the legislation, having regard to domestic conditions," explains Philip Whyte, an analyst at the Centre for European Reform, a London-based think tank. … Mr Whyte says that his main worry about the new rules concerns what he says is a tendency in some quarters of Europe to believe that all that was largely needed to stabilize financial systems was to curb bonuses and regulate hedge funds.

So much for the European project

07 July 2010
The American Spectator
Charles Grant, director of the Centre for European Reform, complained: "On many of the world's big security problems, the EU is close to irrelevant."

China's new silk road into Europe

Katinka Barysch
04 July 2010
The Telegraph
But Katinka Barysch, deputy director of the Centre for European Reform, says that it was unlikely the Chinese investment in Greece will be of such a "vulture" nature. "The danger that Cosco will behave like some of the Chinese mining and oil companies in Africa is pretty remote … Greece is a member of the EU, so it has a much more solid legal framework. There are clear constraints about what foreign investors can and cannot do in our markets.