Head of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi called yesterday for European leaders to find a common goal for the euro currency and then find a way to get there. After the summit on Wednesday, where it was clear that opinions on how to solve the currency crisis differ considerably, Draghi said in a speech at his old university in Rome, La Sapienza University: “Governments must now define in a joint and irreversible way their vision of the political and economic construction underlying the single currency as well as what conditions must be satisfied for everyone together to get to that goal”. He also said that it is now up to governments to come up with measures to boost competition and jobs as well as labor mobility and flexibility.
Members of the European Parliament have issued yet another resolution that condemns the Ukrainian government over the case of Yulia Tymoshenko, the jailed opposition leader. Dutch MEP Johannes Cornelis Van Baalen says this resolution is more specific in that an agreement was made last week between EP President Martin Schulz and Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov. In accordance with this agreement, it should be a free and fair trail against Tymoshenko, she should be well cared for in hospital, and she should be allowed to receive foreign doctors for her back problems. The MEPs also condemns the delay of legal proceedings in Tymoshenko’s case, and they urge for the creation of an independent international panel responsible for monitoring and reporting on possible violations of fundamental rights in her case, as well as in cases of other opposition politicians.
EU Foregin Policy chief Catherine Ashton announced yesterday that Iran and world powers will meet in Moscow next month for more talks on the disputed Iranian nuclear program. Ashton leads the negotiations for the P5+1 (the five permanent Security Council members plus Germany), and she spoke in Baghdad after two days of discussion between envoys from Iran and the six world powers. She spoke of progress in the discussions, saying it was clear that the two sides have some common ground – but also noted that they have significant differences as well. The P5+1 will make an effort to expand the common ground and move closer to a solution when they meet again; the meeting in Moscow is set to take place on June 18 and 19.
EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele said yesterday that negotiations on Iceland’s EU membership are progressing smoothly. After the banking and economic Icelandic meltdown in 2009, Iceland applied for membership of the European Union. Being a part of the European Economic Area, Iceland already complies, fully or partially, with two-thirds of EU rules. A couple of issues are seen as an obstacle for EU integration, though; these are disputes on fishing and whaling and an anti-EU sentiment in the country. Fuele is optimistic on these issues, however, saying he hopes for more clarity before the next parliamentary elections in 2013.
The World Economic Forum’s 2012 Trade Index on openness to international trade was published Wednesday. Topping this list are small, open economies, and in an EU context, Scandinavian countries take the lead. The top-10 list goes as follows: Singapore, Hong Kong, Denmark, Sweden, New Zealand, Finland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada, Luxembourg.