EU budget: French get down to business
This spring the French government will have to present, for the first time, a medium-term financial plan, which will cover the period 2009-2011. The news was announced in a press release from French prime minister François Fillon on 12 February. Fillon explained that this new measure had been imposed on his government by European ministers.
In fact, France has recently come under fire over its excessive budget deficit. This new financial plan should force the government to stick to its promises on reducing the deficit. The pressure will not be too great however: the plan will only set out the general direction of future budgetary decisions in France
Lower tariffs for international text messages
Sending text messages whilst abroad is too expensive. That was the statement from Viviane Reding, commissioner for information society and media, on 11 February. After demanding a reduction in roaming charges in July last year, the commission now has text message prices and the international transfer of data in its sights. If mobile phone operators don’t take action, the commission will force them to reduce their current tariffs by at least two-thirds
European businesses: pay the price of global warming
During a meeting of EU finance ministers held on 12 February, a clear signal was given about the implications of European policy on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which aims to impose heavy fines on emissions from 2013 onwards.
This could impact on Europe's competitiveness in the global market, since other parts of the world will not stick to such rigorous environmental standards. Ministers also expect there to be new taxes and quotas on imports, measures which will be welcomed in France but less so in the UK, where businesses fear a new wave of protectionist policies
Europe’s school report
On Valentine’s Day, the European Commission published an ‘Evaluation of the Implementation of Internal Market Directives’. All member states were assessed on their ability to apply directives from the commission.
Top of the class was Slovakia, with the Czech Republic in last place, the dunce of the European class. Ten member states have managed to reduce their number of infringements of European law, but eleven have seen an increase. Italy has not come of the evaluation with dazzling results – despite an improvement on their last score, the country still has nineteen infringement proceedings against it
Photos: Graffiti (seretuaccidente/Flickr); montage on global warming (jmpznz/ Flickr); the commission gives out marks (Any Manetta/ Flickr)